Smithsonian curator to lecture at Wesleyan

West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Honor Program will host Dr. Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for its fall 2013 Honors Athenaeum. Harvey will lecture about the Civil War and American art on Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Hyma Auditorium in the Christopher Hall of Science.

Chief curator since 2003, Harvey oversees the curatorial and conservation staffs, including the Lunder Conservation Center, its acquisitions and collections programs. In addition, she supervised the reinstallation of the permanent collection for the museum’s reopening in July 2006. She also worked briefly on SAAM’s Henry Luce Foundation Center for American Art, which features close to 3,500 works of art not previously available to the public.

Previously, Harvey was curator of American art at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas. During her tenure (1992-2002), she organized several exhibitions, including “The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Natures,” 1830-1880 (1998), “Thomas Moran and the Spirit of Place” (2001) and “The Voyage of the Icebergs: Frederic Church’s Arctic Masterpiece” (2002). She oversaw the 1992 reinstallation of the permanent collection galleries for American art in the new Hamon Building at the Dallas Museum.

Harvey has written several books and numerous articles. “The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Natures,1830-1880” (1998), based on Harvey’s dissertations, won the 1999 Henry Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society of America as the most significant contribution to 19th-century fine arts studies.

She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and earned an undergraduate degree with distinction from the University of Virginia.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world’s most important American art holdings with approximately 40,000 artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries.

Her most recent book titled “The Civil War and American Art” accompanies the art exhibit and will be available for a book signing immediately following. The event is free and open to the public.