Colby Museum Names New Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies

January 10, 2023

The Colby College Museum of Art announced today that Elisa Germán has been appointed Lunder Curator of Works on Paper and Whistler Studies.

Through innovative research, writing, and curation, Germán has distinguished herself as a leading contributor to the field of works on paper. At Colby, German’s area of oversight will encompass all aspects of the museum’s exhibition and collection initiatives related to prints, drawings, and photographs, with a special focus on the nearly four hundred works by James McNeill Whistler in the museum’s Lunder Collection.

Relatedly, Germán will serve as the liaison to the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies, which includes the Colby Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Glasgow, and the Freer Gallery of Art at the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution.

The recent growth of the Colby Museum’s photography collection, through gifts from Norma Boom Marin, the Tsiaras family, and others, offers significant opportunities for new research at Colby that Germán will facilitate in collaboration with the Lunder Institute for American Art and Colby curatorial team.

“Elisa’s early and sustained fascination with works on paper, paired with her commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching, make her the ideal person to oversee the study and appreciation of prints, drawings, and photographs at Colby College,” noted Beth Finch, head curator at the Colby Museum.

“Elisa is also an advocate for expanding access to the field of works on paper, and this commitment is well aligned with our mission as a teaching museum that offers in-depth professional opportunities for undergraduates aspiring to museum careers.”

Germán is currently the Emily Rauh Pulitzer Curatorial Fellow in Contemporary Drawings at the Harvard Art Museums, where she has conducted research on the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary drawings and has co-curated and contributed an essay to the catalogue for the forthcoming exhibition, American Watercolors, 1880–1990: Into the Light. She has also held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New York University, and Childs Gallery, Boston. 

Germán studied sociology and art history at Amherst College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. Her interest in works on paper, and specifically printmaking, informed both the masters and doctoral degrees in art history that she earned at Boston University.

In December, Germán completed her tenure as president of the Association of Print Scholars, a non-profit professional organization dedicated to print scholarship, where she will remain an active member of the advisory board, in addition to co-organizing an intensive hands-on printmaking workshop for emerging scholars and curators in 2023, in partnership with the Highpoint Center for Printmaking and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and generously funded by The Getty Foundation’s initiative, The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century.

“An art historian, teacher, curator and emerging leader in the arts, Elisa brings to Colby a deep understanding of the value of artworks as material objects. She mines collections to surface understudied narratives and to reveal new facets of artistic and technological innovation. Her curatorial vision will be invaluable to our students and to all of our audiences” said Jacqueline Terrassa, Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby Museum.

Germán begins her new position with the Colby Museum on April 7. Her appointment completes the Colby Museum’s curatorial team, which includes Megan Adams, Anne Lunder Leland Curatorial Fellow; Beth Finch, Head Curator; Sarah Humphreville, Lunder Curator of American Art; Siera Hyte, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; and Levi Prombaum, Katz Consulting Curator. Jessamine Batario is the Linde Family Foundation Curator of Academic Engagement, and Kris Bergquist serves as the Mirken Curator of Education and Engagement. 

“I am delighted to join the Colby College Museum of Art at a moment of incredible growth,” said Germán.

“Working in close collaboration with students, faculty, and curatorial colleagues, I look forward to showcasing the depth and range of the works on paper collection in meaningful ways that will promote new interdisciplinary and inclusive discourses for both university and public audiences alike, while also celebrating the legacy, and expanding the outreach, of the Lunder Collection and Consortium for Whistler Studies.”