Georgia Museum of Art hires Sarah Kate Gillespie as new curator of American art

  • Sarah Kate Gillespie

    Sarah Kate Gillespie

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia has hired Sarah Kate Gillespie as its curator of American art, effective July 1. The previous curator, Paul Manoguerra, left to become the director of the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University.

Gillespie most recently served as assistant professor of art history at York College, City University of New York (CUNY), where she taught classes on 19th- and 20th-century American art, African American art and the history of photography. She received her doctorate in art history from The Graduate Center, CUNY, in 2006, a master’s degree in art history from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Mount Holyoke College. She also attended the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence, Italy.

In addition to her academic experience, she brings significant curatorial knowledge. She has served as Luce Curator of Fine Arts at the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she reinstalled the permanent collection, organized an exhibition on family portraits, conducted research, published on 19th-century drawings by William Moore Davis that focused on African American life in Dutch Colonial Brooklyn and worked with high school students to help them organize an exhibition for which they served as curators. She also worked as a curatorial and research associate at Berry-Hill Galleries in New York City, where she assisted with the organization of exhibitions on William Merritt Chase, Marsden Hartley and images of Washington Square Park in New York.

Her research interests have concentrated most strongly on early photography, producing her book “‘One Thing New Under the Sun’: The Cross-Currents of Art, Science and Technology in the Early American Daguerreotype, 1839-51,” forthcoming from MIT/Smithsonian Press in the fall of 2015. She has published as well on John William Draper’s early experiments with photography, Samuel F.B. Morse’s daguerreotypes and the influence of photography on William Merritt Chase’s paintings of interiors. She has received fellowships from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the American Antiquarian Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Smithsonian Institution.

The Georgia Museum of Art’s collection is strongest in American art of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Gillespie’s duties will include planning a reinstallation of its permanent collection galleries, as well as organizing exhibitions from the collection and loans, serving as in-house curator for traveling exhibitions, working with graduate and undergraduate students at UGA, continuing her original research and writing for museum publications.

Director William Underwood Eiland said, “It is with pleasure and anticipation that we welcome Sarah Kate Gillespie to the Georgia Museum of Art, where she brings great experience as a teacher and a scholar.  The staff and I look forward to working with her in furthering and disseminating knowledge of our collections as well as of American art in general.”



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