Williams College Museum of Art Announces Retirement of Senior Curator
For immediate release: October 28, 2010
The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) announces the retirement of Dr. Nancy Mowll Mathews, Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator of 19th and 20th Century Art and Lecturer in Art, as of January 2011. Mathews first came to WCMA in 1984 while on sabbatical from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) to co-author the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonné. She joined the Williams College Museum of Art permanently in 1988 as director of the Prendergast Archive and Study Center where she has conducted ongoing research, organized exhibitions, and published six books on the Prendergasts and their era (1850–1950).
A committed educator as well as a renowned scholar, Dr. Mathews has taught in the Williams art department and graduate program as well as mentoring many students through internships and independent studies who have gone on to successful careers as scholars themselves. She has been responsible for numerous exhibitions including the groundbreaking “Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880-1910.” The exhibition explored the interconnections between the new technology of film and the visual arts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “Moving Pictures” traveled nationally in 2005–2007 and won the International Art Critics’ award for best exhibition of 2007 in a smaller museum. Most recently Mathews organized “Prendergast in Italy,” mounted in conjunction with the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition traveled from WCMA to the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice and then to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2009–2010). Her essay for the book, Prendergast in Italy, won the Association of Art Museum Curators’ award for best essay of 2009. Beyond WCMA, she served as guest co-curator for the Guggenheim’s major exhibition “Art in America” which traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, and Bilbao in 2007–08.
In addition to her curatorial work, Mathews has authored books on Mary Cassatt and Paul Gauguin and was the editor of American Dreams: American Art in the Williams College Museum of Art to 1950 (2001), a landmark publication for WCMA surveying the core of the museum’s American collection. She also co-authored two catalogues raisonnés: Mary Cassatt: The Color Prints (1989) and Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné (1990). Mathews is currently president of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association.
Mathews has contributed her time and expertise to the larger field of art history and museums including serving on the Museums Committee of the College Art Association, the board of the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Art, and the editorial board of the Woman’s Art Journal. She has been active in the region’s cultural community, serving on the board of trustees of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA and the National Advisory Board of Rockwell Center for illustration of the Norman Rockwell Museum. She received her BA from Goucher College, her MA in art history from Case-Western Reserve University, and her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.