In early January, The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) announced that Rebecca Long has been appointed as their new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan associate curator in the department of medieval to modern European painting and sculpture. Long, who was associate curator of European painting and sculpture before 1800 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) for the last six years prior to her new appointment, will be responsible for Italian and Spanish painting and sculpture before 1750 at AIC and will assume her position on February 27.
In the midst of moving to Chicago, Long writes via email, “I’m eagerly looking forward to working with such an amazing collection, to everything from research and gallery installation projects to thinking about creative and meaningful ways to expand the collection in order to broaden and augment its already formidable strengths. I’m also excited about joining the Art Institute’s efforts to reach a broad public and to give visitors a range of possible means of experiencing and learning from collections, exhibitions, and programs.” Long also humbly expresses her gratitude for all that she learned at IMA, articulating that the highlight for her was working with “Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World,” an exhibition she was involved with when she first came to IMA as a research fellow.
Finding someone with the specific type of expertise that Long possesses so close to home was an opportune stroke of luck. Searle chair and curator of AIC’s department of medieval to modern European painting and sculpture, Sylvain Bellenger, conducted an international search to find the ideal candidate for this position, even having travelled out of the United States to places such as London, Munich and Paris on his pursuit. “I was happy to find someone in Indianapolis,” says Bellenger in a phone interview. “She lived in Madrid for some time and speaks Spanish and Italian fluently. Here at the Art Institute, we have an international team for which I believe she will make a great addition.”
Long completed her Masters at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and is currently in the process of completing her Ph.D. under the guidance of art historian and Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts Jonathan Brown. Her dissertation research concentrates on Bartolomé Carducho, a Florentine painter who worked at the Spanish court at the end of the sixteenth and start of the seventeenth century. “It considers the role of Italian art and artists and the impact of Italian ideas about art in Spain,” explains Long. “In general, I am interested in international markets and trade networks for European art in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries— what happens when art and artists cross borders.” (Mahjabeen Syed)