This new senior curator position has emerged from a three-way collection-sharing partnership between the Brandywine River Museum of Art (BRMA), the Farnsworth Art Museum (FAM), and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art (WFAA). Funded by the WFAA, the Wyeth Foundation Curator (Curator) will be responsible for the Andrew and Betsy Wyeth collections located at the Brandywine and the Wyeth Study Center at the Farnsworth Museum of Art. The home office of the Curator will be at the BRMA, and the Curator will be a BRMA employee. The Curator will supervise a small staff located in Pennsylvania and Maine and will be responsible for maintaining the collections and legacy of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.
About the Brandywine River Museum of Art
Established in 1971, the BRMA is one of the two programs of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. BRMA is situated in a beautiful setting on the banks of the Brandywine River on a 15-acre campus in the greater Philadelphia region. BRMA’s flagship collections are those by artists who have lived and/or worked in the region since the nineteenth century, most notably three generations of the Wyeth family including: N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), and Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946). Brandywine’s permanent collection (online at http://collections.brandywine.orgbrandywine.org/collection), includes paintings and works on paper from the late-nineteenth century to the present. Along with the Wyeth family, other notable artists represented include Martin Johnson Heade, William Trost Richards, Howard Pyle, Violet Oakley, J. Alden Weir, Guy Péne du Bois and Horace Pippin. Complementing the collection is a robust slate of temporary exhibitions ranging from one-person exhibitions devoted to artists such as Winslow Homer, Charles Burchfield, Horace Pippin and James Welling to group exhibitions such as Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City, America’s Impressionists: Echoes of a Revolution, and Natural Wonders: The Sublime in Contemporary Art—all accompanied by major publications that have contributed to the study of American art.
Three nearby historic sites are owned by BRMA and open to the public seasonally: The N. C. Wyeth Home and Studio includes the residence in which he and his wife raised their family and a separate workplace where he painted the majority of works in an illustrious career. The N.C. Wyeth studio is also the site in which two generations of artists in the family learned to paint. There is also the Andrew Wyeth Studio that served as his and Betsy’s first home and his studio from 1940 to his death in 2009. This is where Jamie Wyeth was raised and had his first studio space as a teenager. Nearby Kuerner Farm was a major source of inspiration to Andrew Wyeth for five decades.
BRMA’s Director is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). The N. C. Wyeth Home and Studio as well as the Andrew Wyeth Studio are membership properties in Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios (HAHS) administered by the National Trust.
About the Farnsworth Art Museum
Founded in 1948, in Rockland, Maine, the mission of the FAM is to celebrate Maine’s role in American art. With a changing display from its collection of 15,000 objects (online at https://collection.farnsworthmuseum.org/explore), inventive exhibitions, and energetic educational programming, visitors from around the world gain a deep appreciation of the ongoing story of Maine’s role in American art. The museum has one of the nation’s largest collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, who grew up in Rockland. The Farnsworth Homestead, listed on the Register of Historic Places, as well as the Farnsworth Library are within the museum complex. Also on the campus is the Wyeth Center, a free-standing building that presents works of the Wyeth family of artists from FAM’s collection, as well as loans from the WFFA and others. It is curated by FAM staff. The Farnsworth’s Olson House, a National Historic Landmark and the subject of over 300 works by Andrew Wyeth, is located some 20 miles from the campus in the town of Cushing.
The Wyeth Study Center, located in a wing of the museum, contains vault space, flat files and other archives related to the artist, and interprets Andrew Wyeth’s Maine work and the archival holdings owned by the WFAA. The Wyeth Study Center installs Andrew Wyeth exhibitions in the adjacent gallery.
FAM also owns and makes open to the public the Olson House in Cushing, ME, the former home of Christina Olson-one of Wyeth’s principal subjects. This property is a designated National Historic Landmark. FAM’s Director is a member of AAMD.
About the Wyeth Foundation for American Art
The Wyeth Foundation for American Art (Foundation) has a two-pronged mission. The Foundation (1) encourages the study, appreciation, and recognition of excellence in American art, and (2) perpetuates Andrew Wyeth’s legacy through the exhibition, conservation, and research of his works.
To do so, the Foundation provides financial support to selected programs of scholarship, research, conservation, and exhibitions with institutions and other non-profit organizations consistent with its mission. In particular, the Foundation supports a number of pre- and post-graduate fellowship programs in American art, underwrites scholarly publications in American art, helps conserve important works of American art, and contributes to innovative exhibitions and educational programs centered on American art.
Additionally, and as a result of the generosity and foresight of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth, the Foundation owns a vast collection of the works of Andrew Wyeth (the Collection), spanning the artist’s entire career and including a large number of his iconic temperas, oils, watercolors, drawings, studies and other archival resources. The Foundation has entered into agreements with the BRM and the FAM to house, exhibit, study, interpret, conserve and lend works from the Collection. The art, fairly evenly divided between the two sites, will be maintained in the two museums but exhibited and shared with other institutions. It will also be available for research and scholarship. In fulfilling this mission, the Foundation will provide the requisite funding to accomplish these goals working in conjunction with its two museum partners.
The Board of the Foundation includes scholars and leaders in the field of American Art. These include Wanda M. Corn, Ph.D., Christopher B. Crosman, Kathleen A. Foster, Ph.D., Timothy J. Standring, Ph.D., Joyce Hill Stoner, Ph.D., and John Wilmerding, Ph.D.
The Opportunity, Main Focus, and Key Responsibilities
BRMA seeks an exceptional individual to manage the Collection and its small staff and cultivate new scholarship on the life and work of Andrew Wyeth and the contributions of Betsy Wyeth to the artist’s career and legacy. Serving as the full-time curator and steward of the Collection (numbering almost 7,000 works), the Curator will be instrumental in advancing the study of this iconic artist —whose work spans seven decades—and those around him, especially Betsy Wyeth whose research, publications, record-keeping, preservation of properties, and home-making played a large role in shaping his career. This will entail ongoing research, exhibitions, gallery installations, and educational programming at BRMA and the FAM. The WFC will facilitate access to the Collection, approve and arrange loan requests by other museums and organize Wyeth exhibitions for travel to other museums. The Curator will oversee an in-process catalogue raisonné and author other scholarly publications. The successful candidate will encourage collaboration with museums and scholars to generate a multiplicity of voices researching and interpreting the history of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.
Based at the BRMA, the WFC will manage the Wyeth office and Collection stored there as well as the Wyeth Study Center and Collection stored at FAM. The Curator will prepare ongoing installations in dedicated Wyeth galleries in both museums. The Curator will continue to build the Wyeth archives and library, seeking out new materials.
The Curator will display a passionate interest in the work and world of Andrew Wyeth and be highly motivated and able to work collaboratively with internal and external management, Board members, curators, scholars, conservators, artists, and educators. The successful candidate will have excellent editorial, organizational, and communication skills, a track record of conducting original research, scholarly publications, exceptional and accessible communication skills, and a spirit of openness and collaboration. The Curator plays a key role as a steward of the Collection and will bring best practices to collections management in storage, display, travel, and conservation, while promoting access for researchers. They will create an annual budget for all Andrew Wyeth-related activities, as well as prepare and present progress reports to the Foundation.
Other areas of responsibility include the following:
Research, Exhibitions, and Interpretation
- Conceive and implement exhibitions, publications, and interpretive projects on Andrew and Betsy Wyeth’s legacy in American art and culture.
- Advance visibility and interest in Andrew Wyeth and the Collection through ongoing installations at the BRMA and FAM, short- and long-term loans to other museums, and organizing focused traveling exhibitions.
- Leading and overseeing relevant cataloguing, research, and website projects.
- Prepare gallery talks and public programs focused on Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.
- Represent the Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection in professional associations and local and national conferences, giving presentations and actively participating in/or organizing scholarly fora.
- Facilitate access to works of art, and research archival materials in the Collection for curators, scholars and students.
- Evaluate and manage all loan requests from the Collection.
- Assist in the creation of digital content that will provoke and engage interest in the Collection.
The catalogue raisonné (CR), made possible by the Foundation, will be a scholarly publication documenting complete information about works of art in all media by Andrew Wyeth (the CR for tempera paintings will most likely be the first of several volumes), including descriptive information and detailed provenance, exhibition history, and literature references. Responsibilities include:
- Act as project manager and primary point person for CR’s day-to-day operations.
- Conduct and oversee research into individual works.
- Complete and review data entry and create links to digitized archival materials.
- Facilitate procedures to maintain consistency in CR records.
- Develop and monitor annual budget for CR activities.
- Exercise a high degree of discretion in handling confidential information.
In collaboration with BRMA’s Senior Registrar develop a long-range plan for managing, preserving, storing, and providing access to the Collection. Develop and monitor annual budgets to implement the plan.
- Create a comprehensive, multi-year plan for cataloguing and digitizing the collection for the online catalogue.
- Leading or overseeing relevant cataloguing, research, and website projects.
- Continue to build the Wyeth archives and conduct oral interviews with people who knew the Wyeths.
- Mentor, coach, and supervise a three-member team at BRMA and FAM.
- Prepare, submit and manage an annual budget for all Andrew and Betsy Wyeth-related projects, Collection care, and staffing, and provide feedback to the Foundation throughout the year.
- Ensure that primary goals of research, documentation, visibility, stewardship, and access are met.
The BRMA is in an exciting period of growth. A nearly completed master plan will lay the groundwork for a major renovation and expansion, as well as a reimagining of the campus on which BRMA is located to create richer connections to the landscape. The successful candidate will thus join the BRMA staff in the midst of a broad, multi-year rethinking and reframing of the permanent collection and Wyeth family galleries.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
Strategic Leadership and Management Acumen
Minimum five years of management experience in an art museum, art-related organization, or institution of higher learning. The Curator should be skilled at building and leading high-performing, diverse teams with the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. The Curator needs to have the ability to set clear priorities, delegate and guide investment in people and systems. The ideal candidate will provide a productive work environment that matches the skill set and abilities of staff members as well as professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. The Curator will foster a culture of collaboration, mutual respect and teamwork within the curatorial and collection care departments and across other departments. The Curator will encourage and celebrate the talents of the team while also holding each team member accountable to mutually agreed-upon goals. Additionally, the Curator will approach the curatorial and collection care department’s operations and finances with focus and balance and will make decisions based on a clear understanding of the strategic objectives of the Museum(s) and the Foundation.
Collections & Curatorial Leadership
The Curator will have a sophisticated understanding of and passion for American art and art history, the materials, techniques and condition of art objects, along with a robust record of exhibitions, digital innovation, and scholarly publications. They will exude credibility, experience, and gravitas as a leader and champion of American art; inspirational in manner that elevates the engagement and commitment of others. This individual will bring demonstrated experience with project management related to the care, conservation, display and interpretation of objects in a museum setting. The Curator will have demonstrable success conceptualizing, designing and implementing compelling and visitor-centered curatorial and collection strategies and will be adept at working with the staff to bring them to life; experience with and empathy for the process of curating exhibitions and collaborative projects spanning multiple venues desired. The Curator will be comfortable in the broader arts and cultural community to advance the mission of the BRMA, the FAM, and the Foundation locally, nationally, and internationally. They will possess a high-level of cross-cultural competency and embrace the value found in our differences in all forms. This leader will have excellent presentation, verbal and written communication skills.
Building Relationships and Using Influence
The successful candidate must build rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the Museum(s) and the Foundation. As a leader that exudes presence, the Curator must be highly articulate and a strong and proactive communicator at all times. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with diplomacy, flexibility, and poise. The Curator will be a strong leader, communicator, and collaborator who is skilled at listening to and learning from leadership, staff, and volunteers. This leader will embrace the culture of the Museums, while always having an eye on opportunities to foster best-in-class practices in a productive manner with colleagues. The Curator will naturally inspire fellow leaders, staff and volunteers to develop deeper relationships, leading the charge by example.
Passion for the Mission
Fully embracing the mission of the BRMA, the FAM, and the Foundation, the relationship with the communities for whom they serve and the commitment to its various constituents, the Curator is someone who has an anchor in American art history and understands how legacy artist’s collections and archival materials intersect with our contemporary world and will be passionate about working in partnership with the staff, trustees, Foundation, donors, and other partners to advance the mission of the Museum. The ideal candidate will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collections, buildings, history, research and scholarship and will demonstrate a commitment to public engagement and the visitor experience. The Curator will have a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, a sense of humor, and evidence a commitment to lifelong learning and professional growth. Additionally, this leader will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.
Advanced degree in art history, fine arts, museum administration, or commensurate experience preferred.
Compensation and Benefits
The target salary range for this role is $130,000-$140,000, with a potential for incentive bonuses based on extraordinary performance. Full time employees at the BRMA are provided with an attractive package of benefits including health, dental, and vision insurance, company paid life and long-term disability insurance, a 403(b) plan which includes a safe harbor contribution by Brandywine each month, annual vacation and sick leave.
About the Region: Chadds Ford, PA
Chadds Ford is a small, affluent town of just over 3,000 people in Delaware County, southeastern Pennsylvania. Best known as the site of the 1777 Battle of Brandywine—the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War—and for being the home of three generations of the Wyeth family of artists, it is also the headquarters of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art. Comprised of the Brandywine Conservancy and the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Brandywine has helped define this picturesque valley community over the last 50 years.
Although a rural village, Chadds Ford sits in close proximity to Philadelphia, PA (30 miles), Wilmington, DE (10 miles), West Chester, PA (8 miles), and Kennett Square, PA (7 miles) offering a plethora of housing options and a rich selection of cultural, historical and natural attractions such as Longwood Gardens, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Hagley Museum and Library, Mount Cuba Center, Delaware Art Museum Wharton Esherick Museum, and Chanticleer. There is an abundance of outstanding independent breweries, distilleries, wineries and restaurants as well as several seasonal farm stands and wide array of shopping opportunities. Recreational facilities abound from kayaking and canoeing down the nearby Brandywine River to a robust network of walking trails and protected open space throughout the area. Exceptional public and private educational options are available throughout the region from pre-k through doctoral-level programs. Numerous excellent medical facilities provide world-class health care across the larger Delaware Valley.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Stephen Milbauer of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Stephen directly at email@example.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
Brandywine River Museum of Art is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.
- p1 Interior, The Andrew Wyeth Studio, Brandywine River Museum of Art and Conservancy, Chadds Ford PA
- p 2 Wolf Moon, 1975 watercolor on paper, Collection of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art
- p 3 Installation view, 2017 Study Center Gallery at the Farnsworth Art Museum Rockland, ME
- p 4 Adrift, 1982 tempera on panel, Collection of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art
- p 8 Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford PA