Williamstown, Massachusetts––Esther Bell, who currently serves as the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator of the Clark Art Institute, has been promoted to Deputy Director. Bell retains her curatorial role and takes on added responsibilities in overseeing the work of the Clark library, supervising visitor services activities, and supporting Director’s Office initiatives.
“In the five years since she joined the Clark’s staff, Esther Bell has proven herself to be an exceptional leader and a trusted colleague, and she brings great ingenuity and creativity to all aspects of her work. I have every confidence that she will manage her additional duties with the same keen eye for detail and deep commitment to the Clark’s mission that has made her such an important part of our team,” said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark.
Bell joined the Clark staff in 2017 and has since been deeply immersed in the Clark’s special exhibition program as well as managing all aspects of the care, growth, and development of the Clark’s permanent collection. Bell co-curated the 2019 exhibition Renoir: The Body, The Senses, with George T.M. Shackleford, deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, and was heavily involved in all aspects of the Clark’s first outdoor exhibition, Ground/work, which opened in 2020. She is the co-curator of an upcoming exhibition featuring French drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and is preparing a major monographic exhibition for 2024 on Guillaume Guillon-Lethière (1760–1832).
“I am honored to serve as the Clark’s Deputy Director and am deeply committed to collaborating closely with my colleagues across the Institute as we bring new projects and programs to the forefront. The Clark has many exciting plans ahead and I look forward to working with Olivier Meslay, and with the entire Clark team, as we continue the important mission of serving our communities,” said Bell.
In addition to overseeing the Clark’s curatorial staff, Bell supervises the Institute’s Departments of Education and Public Programs. She is also active in several senior management working groups and internal staff committees, including its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Advisory Group.
In 2020, Bell completed a fellowship at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York, a rigorous program designed to identify emerging arts leaders and provide them with the training necessary to prepare them for work in the rapidly evolving cultural climate of the twenty-first century. Bell holds a doctorate in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, with a specialization in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European art. She earned a master’s degree from the Williams College/Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art, and a bachelor’s degree in the history of art from the University of Virginia. She completed a Fulbright Fellowship at the Musée du Louvre in 2003 and has held numerous fellowships.
Before joining the Clark’s staff, Bell served as the curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Prior to that, she was the curator of European paintings, drawings, and sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Bell began her career in New York, serving as a research assistant and curatorial fellow at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Museum and Library. In 2015, Apollo magazine named Bell as one of the top ten curators in North America under the age of forty.