The Harvard Art Museums announced the appointment of Joachim Homann as the new Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, effective August 19, 2019.
Homann is currently curator of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine, the repository of one of the oldest collections of historic European drawings in this country. During his tenure, European and American drawings and works on paper have been a particular focus of collecting and exhibitions. Homann’s work on Bowdoin’s collection of drawings culminated in 2017 with the publication of the first catalogue that featured highlights of this unique resource. Why Draw? 500 Years of Drawings and Watercolors introduced works from the studios of Raphael and Peter Paul Rubens to drawings by Eva Hesse and Titus Kaphar. Significant purchases of drawings by Hyacinthe Rigaud, Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger, John Singleton Copley, Pieter Withoos, and many others, and donations of drawings by Norman Lewis, Joseph Stella, David Smith, and Natalie Frank, to name but a few, expanded the collection in meaningful ways.
Since arriving at Bowdoin in 2010, he has organized many exhibitions, which, in addition to Why Draw? include Modernism for All: The Bauhaus at 100; Richard Pousette-Dart: Painting|Light|Space; Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860–1960; Hendrick Goltzius: Mythology and Truth; Richard Tuttle: A Print Retrospective (with Christina von Rotenhan); Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea (with Nancy Mathews); and Printmaking ABC: In Memoriam David P. Becker.
Prior to his position at Bowdoin, Homann was curator at the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University (2007–10) and curator of exhibitions and lecturer in art history at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso (2005–07). Homann returns to Harvard, having served as a graduate curatorial fellow in the Busch-Reisinger Museum from 2001–03.
“It is extremely gratifying to welcome Joachim back to the Harvard Art Museums. Both in his own career trajectory, and in his devotion to nurturing the next generation, he exemplifies the very essence of our museum teaching and training program and its long legacy of preparing drawings scholars with the skills and experience necessary to succeed in their curatorial pursuits,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “Joachim prospered after completing his fellowship here, and his subsequent contributions to the field have been both broad and deep. We are thrilled to have him join our curatorial team at a very exciting time for the study of drawings at Harvard.”
Homann studied art history, history, and archaeology in Göttingen, Munich, Heidelberg, and Karlsruhe before receiving his Ph.D. in 2004 from the State Academy of Design, Karlsruhe, and Heidelberg University. He was a doctoral fellow at the University of Hamburg from 1997 to 2000. Homann has published and edited articles and exhibition catalogues, including four recent books in collaboration with DelMonico-Prestel (Art Purposes: Object Lessons for the Liberal Arts will be released later this month), and has spoken at numerous national and international conferences. He was co-founder and editor of h-arthist, the global email list for art historians within the humanities network of the University of Michigan.
“Joachim's curatorial approach blends rigorous connoisseurship with big, new ideas,” said Ethan Lasser, the Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American Art and head of the Division of European and American Art at the Harvard Art Museums. “His lively intellect promises to engage students, faculty, and visitors in our storied drawings collections for many years to come.”
In his role at the Harvard Art Museums, Homann will oversee the extensive drawings collection—one of the most significant areas within the museums’ broader collections. The drawings collection was greatly enhanced by the recent transformative gift of over 300 Dutch, Flemish, and Netherlandish drawings from collector and longtime supporter George S. Abrams. That gift further established the Harvard Art Museums as the major North American site for the appreciation, research, and study of works on paper from the Dutch Golden Age.
At Harvard, Homann will develop exhibitions and regular rotations of drawings within the permanent collections galleries, as well as publications, public lectures, and other programming. The Harvard Art Museums are unique in the degree to which drawings and other works on paper are fully integrated in the collections galleries; drawings also have enormous impact through teaching and programming in the Art Study Center and are regularly featured in three curricular galleries that support coursework across a wide range of academic departments and schools at Harvard.
“I am thrilled to join director Martha Tedeschi and the magnificent team of the Harvard Art Museums as curator of drawings,” said Homann. “Drawings have long been essential to learning, as they require intent looking and exemplify the visualization of complex information. I am greatly looking forward to mining Harvard’s exceptional collection of drawings with students and faculty and to engaging public audiences, to explore together the ongoing relevance of drawing as an artistic and intellectual pursuit.”
About the Harvard Art Museums’ Drawings Collection
The Harvard Art Museums’ collection of European and American drawings from the 14th century to today numbers over 24,000 works and includes major masterpieces. Among the strengths are 17th- and early 19th-century French works, including the most extensive holdings of drawings by Ingres outside of France, as well as significant groups of works by Géricault and David. The collection also excels in Italian Renaissance works by Parmigianino, Michelangelo, and Pontormo, among others. Works by German and Netherlandish masters such as Dürer, Holbein, Bruegel, and Rembrandt are well represented, as are 19th-century British works by Blake, Beardsley, and the Pre-Raphaelites. In the American school, the collection includes more than 20 Homer watercolors; drawings and pastels by Whistler; and an incomparable grouping of about 400 drawings by Sargent. The collection also includes important holdings of works by 20th-century artists such as Edward Hopper, Henry Moore, David Smith, and Eva Hesse. Notable strengths in the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s drawings collection include works by Lovis Corinth, George Grosz, and Bauhaus students and artists, as well as extensive holdings of drawings and watercolors by Lyonel Feininger and postwar figures such as Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Joseph Beuys, and Hanne Darboven.
The Harvard Art Museums are a key repository for the practice, scholarship, and teaching of drawings. All objects in the collections not currently on display in the galleries may be viewed, by appointment, in the museums’ Art Study Center.