John Davis has been appointed to serve a three-year term as the Terra Foundation for American Art Executive Director of Global Academic Programs.
John Davis has been appointed to serve a three-year term as the Terra Foundation for American Art Executive Director of Global Academic Programs.

Terra Foundation Announces New Global Academic Programs Head

February 3rd, 2015

Chicago, IL—The Terra Foundation for American Art announced today that John Davis has been appointed to serve a three-year term as its Executive Director of Global Academic Programs and Terra Foundation Europe, located in Paris. Currently the Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art and Director of the Smithsonian Internship Program at Smith College, in Northampton, MA, Davis will take a sabbatical from Smith and begin the new position in September.

“John Davis’s leadership and international credentials in the Americanist field, teaching expertise, and long-term engagement with the foundation make him uniquely suited to help extend our mission of sharing the historical art of the United States with audiences across the globe,” explained Terra Foundation President & CEO Elizabeth Glassman.

Davis has taught at Smith for more than 20 years, five of which (2007–2012) he served as associate provost. His contributions to the historiography and methodology of American art include a state-of-the-field essay in the Art Bulletin (2003); the comprehensive American Art to 1900 volume, with Sarah Burns (2009); and the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to American Art, which he is coediting.

Additionally, Davis has been involved with the Terra Foundation since 2003, when he served as the senior scholar at the Terra Summer Residency, in Giverny, France. He has also been a visiting professor in Japan, Belgium, and France, most recently in 2013 as the Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, in Paris.

According to Davis, “The Terra Foundation’s strong academic, curatorial, and publication programs in Paris have played an integral role in exposing international audiences to American art and expanding the field at large. I look forward to continuing to support and broaden these programs in Europe, as well as weave them into a strategic, unified effort to explore and act upon entirely new opportunities in Asia and Latin America.”

Davis received a BA in art history from Cornell University in 1983. He earned MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees from Columbia University in 1985, 1986, and 1991, respectively, and has since held numerous teaching and research positions at institutions such as Princeton University and the National Gallery of Art before joining Smith.

The grant programs of the Terra Foundation offer support for exhibitions of American art and academic programs worldwide. Additionally, the foundation supports public and school programs in Chicago. Since 2005 the foundation has provided more than $60 million for nearly 500 exhibitions and scholarly programs in more than 30 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, among others.

In 2009 the foundation opened a unique resource center in Paris dedicated to serving international scholars and curators in the field of American art, as well as the interested public. The Terra Foundation’s Paris Center supports, creates, and disseminates new research on American art through institutional partnerships, academic programs, and exhibitions, as well as residential programs in Giverny, France.

The Terra Foundation’s Paris Center welcomes a growing international community of American art scholars, providing a regular forum on art of the United States—the only one of its kind in Europe—through a wide variety of lectures, workshops, and symposia. Since the Center’s opening, hundreds of scholars have participated in events there.

The Paris Center is also home to the Terra Foundation Library of American Art, Europe’s only research library devoted exclusively to the visual arts of the United States. Specializing in the art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the library contains more than 9,500 English-language titles on painting, sculpture, and graphic arts, as well as photography and decorative arts, all of which are available online.

Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $350 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945, and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, supporting exhibitions, academic programs, and research worldwide.