Dr. Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), announced on Tuesday that Sue Canterbury has been named The Pauline Gill Sullivan Curator of American Art. Canterbury assumes this position after serving for nearly eight years as the DMA’s Associate Curator of American Art, and will take on official leadership of the department, where she will continue to steward the Museum’s extensive collection of American art through acquisitions, exhibitions, and scholarship.
The DMA’s collection of American art includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper spanning three centuries and encompassing the United States and Canada. During her tenure as Associate Curator, Canterbury also oversaw the collections of Spanish Colonial and modern Latin American art, which will now be overseen by the new Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art, once appointed.
“Sue has significantly broadened the range of her projects and stimulated the American Art department’s development,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director. “Most recently, she presented Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art and brought new scholarship and public awareness to a forgotten artist with Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow. These two successful exhibitions opened at the DMA last fall. In acknowledgment of her hard work and original research, it is my great pleasure to promote her to full curator. I know this will spark continued growth in the scope of her projects and cultivation of local collectors.”
As noted, Canterbury organized the first solo museum exhibition of works by Ida O’Keeffe, the younger sister of Georgia O’Keeffe, after five years of extensive research uncovering Ida’s previously unexplored biography and practice. Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow presented for the first time paintings, watercolors, prints, and drawings by the artist, exploring both the obstacles that arose to thwart her professional ambitions and how, ultimately, art drove a wedge between the two once-close sisters. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, the first publication devoted to Ida O’Keeffe. The exhibition debuted at the DMA in November 2018 to national recognition, and will open at The Clark on July 4.
In August 2017, she oversaw the inauguration of the Museum’s Tower Gallery as a space devoted to the presentation of modern art from Mexico and South America. In that same year, upon the completion of the conservation treatment of seven rare mural paintings by Edward Jean Steichen (1879–1973), an artist known most notably for his photography, Canterbury developed the first museum exhibition devoted to the exploration and interpretation of the series in Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers (1910–1914). In 2014, she also organized Alexandre Hogue: The Erosion Series, the first exhibition to focus on this important series of Dust Bowl paintings by the artist, which also emphasized its parallels to contemporary climate issues.
She led the Dallas presentations of the nationally touring exhibitions Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art (2018), Visions of America: Three Centuries of American Art (2017), Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty (2016), Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity (2013), Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process (2013), and Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties (2012).
Canterbury’s attention to the DMA’s permanent collection has yielded important acquisitions in both American and Spanish Colonial art, as well as new discoveries. In late 2012, her research identified an American landscape as an early work by George Inness that, for 81 years, was misattributed to Asher B. Durand.
Prior to her arrival in Dallas in 2011, Canterbury was the associate curator in the Department of Paintings at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for 13 years. She has extensive knowledge of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art and the role of transatlantic exchange between the art centers of Europe and the United States. Earlier, she worked as an assistant curator at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Canterbury earned her M.A. in the History of Art from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she was awarded the Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellowship. She graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Art History and Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Wellesley College, where she was awarded the Plogsterth Prize in Art History and also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
For more information, visit DMA.org.