Taft Museum names veteran curator Ellen Roberts to lead exhibition program

Ellen E. Roberts, a museum veteran who has worked in Florida and Chicago, has been named the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Taft Museum of Art.

Roberts will lead Taft’s exhibition program, serve as the senior curator in charge of its curatorial and collections strategies, and oversee the stewardship and interpretation of the permanent collection and historic house. 

Ellen E. Roberts has been named the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth director of curatorial affairs for the Taft Museum of Art.

Roberts joins the Taft Museum of Art from the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, previously serving as the Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Senior Curator of American Art since 2012. At the Norton, Roberts curated numerous exhibitions, including From Man Ray to O’Keeffe: American Modernism at the Norton (2023), Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature (2022), Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection (2021–22). Roberts has published extensively during her tenure at the Norton, and in her previous role as Associate Curator of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, authoring a book on Norton Museum founder Ralph Norton and co-authoring catalogs of the Art Institute’s collections of American modernism and American Impressionism. 

At the Art Institute, she managed the collections of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts and co-curated exhibitions on Edward Hopper, the Arts and Crafts movement, food and American painting, and Frank Lloyd Wright and Japanese art. Roberts has also held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, and Boston University (Boston, MA). 

Roberts holds a Ph.D. from Boston University in Art History with a specialization in American art and architecture and a minor in Asian art. Her dissertation focused on Japanism and the American Aesthetic Interior, 1867–1892: Case Studies by James McNeill Whistler, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Roberts also holds a master’s in Art History from Boston University, and a bachelor’s in Art History from Yale University.

“We wholeheartedly welcome Ellen to the Taft Museum of Art to lead our curatorial and collections department. Ellen’s knowledge is uniquely tailored to the strengths of the museum’s stellar permanent collection and she shares our vision to actively embrace our community and to be a leader in the museum field,” said, Rebekah Beaulieu, Louise Taft Semple president and chief executive officer. 

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