Academia & Arts

Attended KCSS • 1987–1992

Inducted October 2016

Odilia

Bonebakker

See Induction Video

Museum Curator, Professor & more

Educated at Queen’s University (B.A. and M.A.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.), with a brief stint as exchange student at UC-Berkeley—where I lived on a wooden boat (’64 Chris Craft) in the San Francisco Bay—I am a trained museum curator, professor, scholar, and arts administrator. Prior to my current position at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I served as Assistant Director and Chief Curator of the Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William and Mary in Virginia, where I also worked as Adjunct Professor in Art History and volunteered for the Christopher Wren Society. I have been exceptionally lucky in that I had the chance to intern as a student for dynamic curators at some of the world’s best museums, including the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Ger Luijten) and the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge (Bill Robinson).

An expert on Pieter Bruegel the Elder, my dissertation is the first in-depth study of his practice of painting on canvas. Publications include Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the National Gallery of Canada (exh. cat. 2004) and articles, reviews, and catalogue entries on topics in Northern Renaissance and Baroque art from Bruegel to Rembrandt. I have taught at Harvard University, UC-Berkeley, and the College of William and Mary, and curated exhibitions including The Dutch Italianates (Muscarelle Museum of Art, 2009) as well as exhibitions on topics ranging from Andy Warhol to Peruvian textiles.

I could not be more thrilled to be among this year’s inductees in the KCSS Case of Distinction. I credit my literary life to the encouragement of good-natured teachers such as Mr. Sinyard, who advised me to stick to my strengths. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to former teachers and professors for their guidance and support, and hope in turn to support and mentor current students as they choose the next step. Advice to students? Be grateful, pay it forward, and keep a sense of humour!

Written October 2016

 

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