Ronni Baer specializes in European art of the 17th century. She worked in curatorial departments at major museums in New York and Atlanta before joining the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she served as Senior Curator of European Paintings for almost twenty years. There, she spearheaded numerous exhibitions, gallery installations, and old master paintings acquisitions, including the promised gift of 113 Dutch and Flemish paintings from the collections of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matt Weatherbie.
Baer has lectured extensively, both nationally and internationally, and published numerous articles on the history of collecting Dutch, Flemish, and Spanish art. She is an acknowledged expert on the paintings of Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), about whom she wrote her dissertation. She was the curator of, among other exhibitions, Gerrit Dou, Rembrandt’s First Pupil (Washington, The Hague, London 2000); and, in Boston, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Dutch Painting in Boston (2002); Rembrandt's Journey: Painter • Draftsman • Etcher (with Cliff Ackley) (2004); El Greco to Velázquez: Art During the Reign of Philip III (with Sarah Schroth) (2008); and Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer (2016).
For her work in furthering knowledge and appreciation of their art and culture, Baer was knighted by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 2008 and by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2017. She was named the Institute of Fine Arts’ Distinguished Alumna and Commencement Speaker of 2018 and served on the Board of Advisors of the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in 2018-2019.
Baer is committed to teaching from the object, exploring all aspects of the work of art from its physical condition and painterly execution to its various levels of meaning to what it might reveal about the society that created it.