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

Stories & News / Press Releases

Terra Foundation Announces New Location and Director in Europe

June 3, 2015

Paris—The Terra Foundation for America Art announced today the new location of its expanded Paris Center & Library, in the historic hôtel Lévis-Mirepoix, at 121 rue de Lille. Re-opening to the public in September, the new facility will include larger and improved event and library facilities and a collaborative exhibition space with the Fondation Custodia.

“The success of our Paris Center & Library in the past several years has motivated us to enlarge this valuable resource for the growing and increasingly diverse community of art historians and scholars—and the arts-interested public—living and working in France and throughout Europe,” explained Terra Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Glassman.

Since 2009, when the Paris Center & Library opened at 29 rue des Pyramides, it has served as the foundation’s European hub, providing regular programs—lectures, symposia, and artists’ talks—on current topics in American art and visual culture, with an emphasis on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. Guest speakers have included François Brunet, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7; Eric de Chassey, Académie de France in Rome-Villa Medici; Michael Fried, Johns Hopkins University; and Thomas Crow, New York University.

The Paris Center & Library is also the nexus of the institution’s grant programs in Europe, which includes funding for exhibitions and partnerships, academic programs, and publications, as well as visiting professorships in Berlin, London, and Paris. Among the exhibitions supported by the Terra Foundation are Edward Hopper, at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (2012), the multi-year New Frontiers series at the Musée du Louvre (2010–2015), and Andy Warhol–Full Screen, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, opening in October.

According to Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre (2001–2013) and now a member of the Terra Foundation’s International Board, “With the opening of its expanded Paris Center & Library, I’m confident that the foundation will continue to play an integral role—organizing exhibitions and academic events, promoting research, and lending works from its collection—in increasing the appreciation of American art throughout Europe.”

The foundation also announced the three-year appointment of John Davis to serve as the center’s director and executive director of global academic programs beginning 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 in Europe and beyond,” stated Terra Foundation Vice President Amy Zinck.

Currently the Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art and Director of the Smithsonian Internship Program at Smith College, in Northampton, MA, John Davis will take a leave from Smith to head the Paris Center & Library.

John 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, John 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.

The expanded Paris Center & Library is the result of an innovative partnership with Fondation Custodia, home to the Frits Lugt Collection and the third-largest art history library in France. Combined with the Terra Foundation’s holdings—which consists of nearly 9,500 English-language books and catalogs, including rare materials and digital resources, on painting, sculpture, photography, and decorative and graphic arts—the joint library will house approximately 150,000 volumes on Western art history.

“Our relationship with Fondation Custodia is a good example of the kinds of collaborations we wish to cultivate, mutually beneficial partnerships founded on meaningful exchange and the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them,” added Elizabeth Glassman.

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.