Ada de Wit

Decorative Art

Ellen S. and Bruce V. Mavec Curator of Decorative Arts


Ada de Wit joined the Cleveland Museum of Art in August 2023. She is responsible for the museum’s collection of European and American decorative art and design. Consisting of approximately 5,000 objects, dating from 1500 to the present, the holdings in De Wit’s care are internationally known for their importance and artistic quality, with many works considered some of the finest of their type in the world. They represent a wide variety of functional items, such as silverware, glass, ceramics, and furniture.

Before joining the CMA, De Wit served as curator of works of art and sculpture at the Wallace Collection, London, a national museum renowned for its 18th-century French art. At the Wallace Collection, she developed a curatorial strategy for the less studied part of the collection, consisting of Kunstkammer objects and African and Asian works of art. This resulted in major research projects on Asante gold and Chinese gold from the Qianlong period. In 2018, for the Wallace Collection’s new exhibition space, De Wit curated the inaugural exhibition, Sir Richard Wallace: The Collector. Previous to her employment at the Wallace Collection, De Wit worked for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, where she researched the museum’s silver and glass collections.

De Wit earned a doctorate from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her dissertation, “Grinling Gibbons and His Contemporaries (1650–1700): The Golden Age of Woodcarving in the Netherlands and Britain,” was published as a lavishly illustrated volume by Brepols (2022). She received two master of arts degrees, one in art history and one in French and British decorative arts and historic interiors, after having studied in Poland, the Netherlands, and England. De Wit has presented numerous public talks, lectures, and scholarly papers on a variety of subjects related to decorative art throughout Europe.

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Collection Area