Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art Has Named Diana Jocelyn Greenwold the Inaugural Lunder Curator of American Art

November 15, 2021

Photo of Diana Jocelyn GreenwoldThe Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art has named Diana Jocelyn Greenwold the inaugural Lunder Curator of American Art. Greenwold was appointed to this role in September 2021. The position is made possible by a grant from The Lunder Foundation and matching funds from Jacqueline B. Mars, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Paul Neely, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Gage and the Friends of the National Museum of Asian Art. The position underscores the centrality of American art, especially the work of James McNeill Whistler, to the historical and artistic identity of the Freer Gallery of Art and the museum’s interpretation of Asian art.

In this role, Greenwold stewards the museum’s collection of American art, which dates largely to the late 19th century and includes significant works by Dwight Tryon, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Abbott Thayer, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. She is also responsible for the museum’s unparalleled selection of works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famous Peacock Room. Greenwold collaborates with the curatorial team and across departments to reflect on the collecting practices and networks of the museum’s founder Charles Lang Freer. As the museum prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2023 and embark on its next 100 years, Greenwold will play an important role in highlighting connections across cultures.

“Colleagues and I are delighted that Diana Jocelyn Greenwold has joined our curatorial team,” said Chase F. Robinson, the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the museum. “Her expertise and perspective will strengthen our voice at a time of great opportunity for the museum as we approach our centennial.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art at such an exciting moment in the institution’s history,” Greenwold said. “I look forward to interpreting the iconic works in the collection in new ways to reach a wide array of visitors. Working with my colleagues, I hope to deepen the stories the museum can tell about America, Asia and the world.”

Greenwold specializes in late 19th- and early 20th-century American fine and decorative arts. She is particularly interested in stories of transnational exchange and the ways objects carry and transform culture. From 2014 to 2021, Greenwold served in various curatorial positions, ultimately as curator of American art at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Portland, Maine. There, she oversaw the museum’s collection of over 11,000 American paintings, sculptures and decorative arts and was a core member of the team that reinstalled the PMA’s permanent collection in 2017. Her recent exhibitions include “Small Wonders: Rethinking American Arts and Crafts, 1880–1920” (2021), “Mythmakers: The Art of Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington” (2020) and “In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950–69” (2019). At the PMA, Greenwold also spearheaded the multi-stage reinterpretation of the Winslow Homer Studio. She has recently published exhibition catalog essays about lace in Italy and the United States and Scandinavian designers in early 20th-century America. Greenwold received her doctorate in history of art from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Committed to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting exemplary works of art, the museum houses exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 45,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today. Renowned and iconic objects originate from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, the ancient Near East and the Islamic world. The Freer Gallery also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late 19th century. It boasts the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room. The National Museum of Asian Art is dedicated to increasing understanding of the arts of Asia through a broad portfolio of exhibitions, publications, conservation, research and education.

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