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Deknatel Curatorial Fellow in Japanese Works on Paper

Vassar College
New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Apr 13, 2023

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Arts, Art History
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Vassar College

Deknatel Curatorial Fellow in Japanese Works on Paper

Department: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Duration of Position: Other
Work Schedule:
Employee Type: Administrator
Posting Date: 02/07/2023
Union Representation: Not Applicable
Posting Number: AS334P
Pay Rate:

About Vassar College
Located in the scenic Mid-Hudson Valley, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape.Vassar College is deeply committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and to promoting an environment of equality, inclusion, and respect for difference. The College is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer, and especially welcomes applications from veterans, women, individuals with disabilities, and members of racial, ethnic, and other historically underrepresented groups.Vassar College is a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus.Note: Vassar College has a universal vaccination policy requiring a COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster, for all employees except for those exempt for medical or religious reasons.

Position Summary and Responsibilities
Founded in 1861 as one of the earliest women's colleges (and the first to become co-educational in 1969), Vassar College opened its doors with both an art gallery and an observatory, signaling Vassar's enduring educational philosophy of sending students “to the source.” Today's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, designed by Cesar Pelli, is an accredited modern museum whose collections originated with a superb acquisition of Hudson River School paintings at the College's inception. Between then and now the collection has grown to more than 22,000 works, charting the history of art from ancient Egypt to the present, and featuring important examples of modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and photography as well as Old Master paintings and prints. The collection includes approximately 10,000 works on paper with current areas of concentration in European prints and drawings (1500 to 1980); American prints and drawings (1800 to the present); and Japanese prints and scrolls (1750 to 1950). The collection supports the educational mission of the Loeb Art Center through faculty and student use, as well as an ambitious schedule of exhibitions offered to all of our audiences.

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center seeks a full-time, two-year (with the possibility of renewal) Curatorial Fellow in Works on Paper, who will work primarily with its permanent collection of Japanese woodblock prints and will participate in all aspects of curatorial work. While historically the Loeb's holdings of East Asian art are not extensive, it has affirmed and deepened its commitment to expanding this area through recent gifts, acquisitions, exhibitions, and scholarship.

The Loeb currently holds over 450 Japanese woodblock prints, largely ukiyo-e prints of the Edo and Meiji periods, which require further research and cataloguing. The strength of this group is in nineteenth-century landscape prints, with particularly representative examples by Hokusai and Hiroshige. There are fine examples of surimono prints and figurative prints, as well as a strong subset of Meiji Period prints related to the events of the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars. The Loeb is also actively cultivating Japanese photography as a strength of its collection, which spans the medium's history. Works in need of further research include four nineteenth-century ambrotypes housed in hand-carved wooden cases. Other highlights include photography by Reiji Esaki, Kusakabe Kimbei, Eikoh Hosoe, Naoya Hatakeyama, Naoki Honjo, Tomoko Sawada, Rinko Kawauchi, and Toshio Shibata.

The Curatorial Fellow will play a key role in surveying the current collection of Japanese works on paper, and developing avenues for research, acquisitions, interpretation. They will provide curatorial support with the aim of deepening public awareness and access to the collection, help curate focused exhibitions, and coordinate conservation and preservation recommendations. They may assist with wider curatorial initiatives as needed such as permanent collection gallery rotations and reinstallations. Support for professional development as well as time for independent research and writing will be structured into the fellowship. This position is an exceptional opportunity to work with a broad range of material, and to receive invaluable curatorial experience in collection research, as well as in exhibition planning and curation.

  • Research Japanese works on paper in the permanent collection with an eye to improving the accessibility of the collection.
  • Assist in classifying works in the collection based on subject matter, style, specific medium, and other identifying characteristics.
  • Contribute on both scholarly and programmatic levels to support exhibitions, faculty use of the collection, and other projects that bring strengths of the works on paper collection to light.
  • Coordinate internal projects with collections management team, faculty, students, and other stakeholders.
  • Participate in organizing exhibitions, installations, and digital displays, including writing and reviewing interpretive texts, collaborating with staff and project partners, and performing additional duties as needed.
  • Provide general curatorial support to the Curator of Prints and Drawings, including cataloguing, managing related data entry, assisting with loans, supporting gallery rotations, and responding to inquiries about the collection.
  • Identify conservation and storage needs under consultation with contract conservators.
  • Research and write on proposed acquisitions for the collection, both gifts and purchases.

  • A minimum of two years in a collecting museum environment or similar visual art institution.
  • Broad knowledge of the history of works on paper; expertise in the area of Asian art or Japanese woodblock prints.
  • A demonstrated commitment to scholarship, accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • A demonstrated commitment to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Excellent skills in research, writing, and verbal communication (foreign language/s desirable).
  • Knowledge and aptitude in art handling best practices and safe handling of prints in a museum environment.
  • Prior experience with collection management software, The Museum System (TMS), preferred.
  • Technical proficiency with personal computers and Microsoft Office suite.
  • A high degree of organization, self-motivation, ability to take initiative, exercise independent judgment, manage projects with minimal supervision, and adjust as new projects are assigned.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of constituents including faculty, artists, patrons, and the public in a knowledgeable and professional manner.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and to be a team player in an active office environment.

Education/Certification: BA in art history or related field; MA in art history or related field. PhD preferred.

Special Instructions to Applicants
To complete your on-line application, you will be required to attach your resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 professional references. All attachments must be in PDF format. Review of applications will begin immediately. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources, 845-437-5820.

For full consideration applicants should apply by:

All applicants must apply online at:


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