Martha Tedeschi, an American art historian and curator with a special interest in British and American prints and drawings, is the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums since 2016.
She has curated exhibitions and/or published on artists such as Winslow Homer, John Marin, and James McNeill Whistler. She is the general editor and co-author of “The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler” (1998), winner of the George Wittenborn Award for excellence in art publishing in that year. She has also organized numerous exhibitions, including “Watercolors by Winslow Homer: A Medium for Modernism” (2008) and its sequel, “John Marin’s Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism” (2011), and more recently, “Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy” (2013).
She was previously Deputy Director for Art and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago where she directed a staff of nearly 225, including the museum’s libraries and archives, publishing and imaging, academic programs, and conservation and conservation science departments; and oversaw the activities of 11 curatorial departments and served as the Art Institute’s academic liaison to local universities and foundations.
Douglas Druick, former President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute had this to say about her: “…Martha Tedeschi has evolved an ever more rich and compelling vision for the expanded potential of the museum as a teaching institution capable of engaging diverse audiences by providing access to the museums’ encyclopedic collections in new and creative ways.”
While at the Art Institute of Chicago, she implemented an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation partnership with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University around teaching graduate students from objects; and oversaw a pilot project — Mellon’s Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program — designed to offer training and mentoring to students who support the goal of fostering inclusive, pluralistic museums and increasing the engagement of historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field. She also spearheaded the Art Institute’s comprehensive assessment and digitization of its permanent collection and led the museum’s pioneering program for producing online scholarly publications.
Martha began her career at the Art Institute of Chicago as a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) intern in 1982, and became a full curator in 1999. She then served as longtime curator in the museum’s Department of Prints, where she had previously contributed in numerous other roles since 1982.
Martha received her BA in Art History from Brown University and a MA in Art History and Museum Studies in 1982 from the University of Michigan. Her thesis focused on Girolamo Mocetto and was titled The Calumny of Appelles: An Early Sixteenth-Century Engraving by Girolamo Mocetto. In 1994, she received her PhD in Art History from Northwestern University with a dissertation on How Prints Work: Reproductions, Originals, and Their Markets in England, 1840–1900.
She was president of the Print Council of America from 2009 to 2013, currently serves on the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators, and was awarded a fellowship to the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2012.