Odilia Bonebakker

Academia & Arts

Attended KCSS • 1987–1992

Inducted 2016

Leadership in the Arts.

Odilia is the leading authority on the distemper paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, on whom she has lectured and published. An expert on Renaissance and Baroque paintings, drawings, and prints, she also published on Rembrandt and co-authored Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada (2004). In addition to her academic and curatorial work, Odilia has over five years of experience in non-profit management and development.

She studied at Queen’s University at Kingston (B.A.Honors) and Harvard University (M.A., Ph.D.), and was a visiting scholar at UC-Berkeley and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. After graduating from Queen's Odilia moved to Amsterdam to start her career at the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, where she helped organize an international, award-winning exhibition on Anthony van Dyck.

Next, she was chosen from a highly selective pool of applicants to join the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University to support their research mission in a period of major growth and acquisition which included an unprecedented gift of art that secured the Fogg as a leading center for the study of Dutch drawings.

From there she initiated a partnership between Harvard and the National Gallery of Canada, proposing and co-curating a major traveling exhibition and nurturing relations with donors that resulted in an important gift of a collection of art.  She also organized a study day on Dutch and Flemish Drawings at the Harvard Art Museums, which advanced their goal to promote scholarship through lively international collaborations.

In 2007, she moved to Virginia to serve as Assistant Director and Curator at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William and Mary, managing all departments from collections and operations to education and external relations. As curator, she led their initiative to expand audiences through innovative programming. She organized seven exhibitions on topics ranging from Dutch painting to Warhol, spearheaded new lecture series and events, secured donors and major national grants and was part of a dynamic team that saw museum attendance double in under two years. She also served as Adjunct Professor at the College of William and Mary and developed successful collaborations with faculty. In her free time, she was an active member of the Williamsburg arts community and volunteered for the Christopher Wren Society of Continuing Education.

Odilia was chosen from over 3,000 applicants to win the four-year William E. Taylor Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and was awarded the Marty Memorial Fellowship for Distinguished Alumni from Queen’s University and a Rousseau Fellowship from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In recognition of her contribution to teaching she received two certificates of excellence in teaching from the Derek Bok Center at Harvard.

Outside of work, Odilia enjoys boating, hiking, cooking, and supporting local arts organizations.


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