The Yale Center for British Art has announced that Scott Wilcox, its deputy director for collections, will retire after a nearly four-decade tenure with the institution in 2022. Wilcox began working at the center in 1982 as an assistant curator of prints and drawings. He earned his PhD in the history of art from Yale University three years later and would eventually be promoted to curator, chief curator of art collections, and senior curator of prints and drawings.

“As I look back on nearly thirty-eight years at the center, I feel tremendously grateful that I’ve had such a long run in an institution with such great collections, great programs, and great colleagues,” Wilcox said in a statement. “I hope I’ve been able to make a positive contribution to what makes the center special. At different moments I considered moving on, but I always concluded that there was no other place I’d rather be.”

During his tenure, Wilcox was instrumental in establishing a collection of photography within the department of prints and drawings; formed a department for collections information and access, which made the center’s collections accessible electronically; led the 2016 reinstallation of the institution’s galleries following a major conservation project; and organized the exhibitions “Victorian Landscape Watercolors” (1992–93); “Lucian Freud Etchings from the Paine Webber Art Collection” (1999–2000); and “Sun, Wind, and Rain: The Art of David Cox” (2008–09); among others.

Starting April 1, Wilcox’s responsibilities will begin to shift as he prepares to depart in March 2022. He will immediately assume the position of senior research scholar and will serve as a cocurator of “Photographs of Italy and the British Imagination, 1840–1914,” which is scheduled to open at the center in fall 2021. A search for his successor will soon be underway.

Commenting on Wilcox’s work at the center, director Courtney J. Martin said: “As a student at Yale in the early 2000s, I knew of Scott’s great achievements as a curator and scholar. When I returned to the center as director, I learned that he was also a stellar colleague. Over the next two years, we will have the opportunity to learn more from him as he turns to a research role that will certainly benefit staff, visiting scholars, and visitors to our exhibitions.”


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