A graduate of Smith College in Northampton, MA, Suzanne Folds McCullagh, PhD, was inspired to pursue a career in art history while studying for her Bachelor of Arts there. She took a summer seminar on Michelangelo in Florence, Italy, which sparked her interest in Italian art. Dr. McCullagh holds a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University, where she served as a curatorial assistant in charge of the Print Department in 1974. During her studies, in 1975, she joined the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago as curatorial assistant, then assistant curator in 1979, associate curator in 1985, and, in 1987, as curator of earlier Prints and Drawings. In 1980, she also served as co-coordinator of the museum and school’s self-study and long-range plan. In 2001, her position was endowed as the Anne Vogt Fuller and Marion Titus Searle Curator, and in 2011, she was appointed Department Head and Chair of Prints and Drawings.
In 2016, Dr. McCullagh retired from the Art Institute to take on the role of director at the Gray Collection Trust, where she is charged with a collection of more than 300 works of art. She primarily focuses on a core group of 161 works on paper that Richard and Mary L. Gray acquired over the past 50 years, some of which she helped to select, acquire and integrate into the collection. She is currently working on an exhibition that will be displayed at the Art Institute in 2020 and will highlight 36 recent acquisitions along with the rest of the Gray Collection of works of art on paper. As director, Dr. McCullagh’s responsibilities have include researching drawings both for acquisition and for exhibition and publication and ensuring that these works are accessible to the public, conducting tours.
In 2012, Dr. McCullagh was appointed Clarence Kennedy distinguished professor at Smith College, and she has extended her expertise as a contributor of articles to professional journals in the field. Civically, she has been active in her community through her work on committees, including her recent appointment to the drawing committee of the Harvard Art Museum. Looking toward the future, Dr. McCullagh hopes to continue highlighting the importance of old master drawings, writing in her field and possibly organizing other exhibitions.
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