The Art Newspaper, May 3, 2022
Alexandra Letvin named Duane Wilder, Class of 1951, Associate Curator of European Art at the Princeton University Art Museum
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Princeton University Art Museum has appointed Alexandra Letvin as the inaugural Duane Wilder, Class of 1951, associate curator of European Art. Letvin joins Princeton from the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, where she has served as assistant curator of European and American art since 2019. She will begin her appointment at Princeton early this summer.
The newly endowed position is named in honor of Duane Wilder, who was an avid art collector and a tireless advocate for the arts and humanities on Princeton’s campus and beyond. He served for nearly 40 years on the Princeton University Art Museum’s Advisory Council and bequeathed his extensive collection to the Museum upon his death in 2017. In 2020 the Museum presented The Eclectic Eye, a digital exhibition featuring highlights from Wilder’s collection that ranged from sixteenth-century northern European paintings to contemporary photography.
At Princeton, Letvin’s portfolio will include guiding the Museum’s program in European art from the medieval period to 1945 and integrating the European tradition more fully into global inquiries. Letvin’s appointment comes at a critical time for the Museum, which last year began construction on a dramatic new facility designed by Sir David Adjaye, scheduled to open in late 2024. Letvin will be responsible for shaping collections displays in the new building, originating exhibitions, conducting research, making acquisitions and working closely with campus and broader communities.
"Alexandra is an exciting scholar curator with an innovative curatorial vision, who truly understands the complex responsibilities of the academically-based museum in the 21st century," said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director. "Her boundary-crossing scholarship along with her commitment to teaching and engagement will make her a compelling voice in reimagining what a university museum can be."
Letvin graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree in art history and received a master’s and PhD in the history of art from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Oberlin, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and has held curatorial fellowships at the Meadows Museum in Dallas and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Exhibitions and installations Letvin curated at Oberlin include Mobility and Exchange, 1600–1800 (2021), which situates the museum’s 17th- and 18th-century European holdings in dialogue with works from Africa, Asia and South America; DIS/POSSESSION (cocurated with Hannah Wirta Kinney 2021); Focus: Power, Agency, and Objectivity in Early Photography (2021); and How Can Museum Labels Be Antiracist? (2020). Other notable projects include Sit Down with a New Discovery (cocurated with Teresa Lignelli, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2020) and Goya: A Lifetime of Graphic Invention (Meadows Museum, 2015).
A specialist in early modern Spanish art, Letvin has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues, collection handbooks and essay collections, including a chapter in "Sorolla in America: Friends and Patrons" (2015), which won the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies’ Eleanor Tufts Book Award in 2017.
"To me, the great joy of curating European art in a campus setting is the challenge it presents to be responsive and to rethink the stories we tell," said Letvin. "I’m honored to join a dynamic team at the Princeton University Art Museum that is deeply and creatively engaged with this work."
About the Princeton University Art Museum
With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include more than 113,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe. Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world.
The main Museum building is currently closed for the construction of a bold and welcoming new building, designed in partnership with Sir David Adjaye and slated to open in late 2024.
Art@Bainbridge is located in downtown Princeton at 158 Nassau Street. Art@Bainbridge hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Art on Hulfish, the Museum’s photo-focused gallery located at 11 Hulfish Street in Palmer Square, also in downtown Princeton, is open daily.
Admission to both galleries is free.
Please visit the Museum’s website for digital access to the collections and a calendar of diverse live and on-demand programs. The Museum Store in Palmer Square, located at 56 Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, is open daily; or shop online at princetonmuseumstore.org.
More information: artmuseum.princeton.edu
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Princeton University Art Museum
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