“Emily is an exceptional curator with a remarkable eye and creative approach. Her range of expertise and scholarly interests—which span five centuries and a panoply of graphic mediums—are admirable. We very much look forward to having Emily as a colleague in Cleveland,” said Director William M. Griswold.
As Curator of Prints and Drawings, Peters will oversee the care and development of the collection, working closely with the Director and Chief Curator on the identification and acquisition of works of art to augment the collection. Together with an Assistant or Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings—who will be appointed later this year—Peters will be responsible for exhibitions in the James and Hanna Bartlett Prints and Drawings Galleries; she will also curate special exhibitions in the Smith Foundation Hall and Gallery that highlight all aspects of European and American graphic art. Peters will also develop interpretive and didactic materials designed to appeal to broad audiences, helping to deepen visitors’ appreciation and understanding of graphic art.
The collections for which Peters will be responsible span more than 500 years of artistic production throughout Europe and the United States. Consisting of approximately 22,000 prints and 4,000 drawings, the collection is internationally known for its rarity and high quality. Areas of particular strength include Italian Renaissance drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael as well as a strong group of engravings and woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer. Highlights of the 17th century include drawings and a range of etched subjects by Rembrandt van Rijn, while an impressive group of early lithographs and celebrated drawings by Ingres and Degas stand out among the 19th-century holdings. The drawings collection is admired for watercolors by Blake, Turner and Palmer, and for luminous pastels by Cassatt and Redon. Among the highlights of modernism is a group of more than 50 German Expressionist prints and drawings by Miró, Picasso and Winslow Homer.
“I am honored to be joining the Cleveland Museum of Art at this exciting time,” said Peters. “Cleveland’s collection of prints and drawings is one of the finest in the United States, and I have long admired its many treasures as well as the important exhibitions and acquisitions presented by my predecessors at the museum. I look forward to thinking about new ways to present the collection and to working with my colleagues to augment its holdings in keeping with the CMA’s rich history of collecting. I am particularly looking forward to getting to know the vibrant community of prints and drawings supporters in Cleveland via the Print Club and the Painting and Drawing Society.”
Peters brings more than a decade of curatorial work and museum experience to the CMA. In 2005, she joined the curatorial team at the RISD Museum as Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs; in 2008, she was promoted to Associate Curator. A specialist of 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish prints and drawings, Peters has mounted at RISD such diverse exhibitions as Design and Description: Renaissance and Baroque Drawings (2006); Urban America, 1930–1970 (2007); The Brilliant Line: Following the Early Modern Engraver 1480–1650 (2009); The Festive City (2014); and Landscape and Leisure: 19th-Century American Drawings from the Collection (2015). Along with organizing exhibitions, Peters has collaborated closely with her curatorial colleagues at RISD in planning the reinstallation of the museum’s European galleries, set to open in the fall of 2017.
In addition to her curatorial work, Peters has extensive experience teaching. While at the RISD Museum, she has worked closely with professors and students at Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, collaborating with professors on exhibitions and publications, and supervising undergraduate and graduate students who research the museum’s collection and curate exhibitions. Peters has also taught art history at Rhode Island College and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Peters’s scholarship has been widely praised. Her exhibition catalogue The Brilliant Line: Following the Early Modern Engraver 1480–1650 (2009) received a first-place award from the New England Museum Association, and her catalogue essay, “Systems and Swells: The Collective Lineage of Engraved Lines” was deemed runner-up for essay of the year by the Association of Art Museum Curators. Research for The Brilliant Line was funded by grants from the Samuel Kress Foundation, the International Fine Prints Dealers Association and the Foundation for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Peters has authored numerous scholarly articles including “Processional Print Series in Antwerp during the Dutch Revolt,” Print Quarterly XXXII, no. 3 (September 2015): 259–270; “Treasures from the Vault: Leaf e from the Biblia Pauperum, ca. 1460s,” in Art in Print 3, no. 4 (November/December 2013): 28–31; and “Printing Ritual: The Performance of Community in Christopher Plantin’s La Joyeuse & Magnifique Entrée de Monseigneur Francoys . . . d’Anjou (Antwerp, 1592)” Renaissance Quarterly (2008): 61–2.
Holding a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Peters has been the recipient of several fellowships from institutions including the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB; the Belgian American Educational Foundation; and the American Association of Netherlandic Studies. In 2002–3, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for dissertation research in Antwerp.
Emily J. Peters will be moving to Cleveland with her family.
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