Professor , AHST/HUAS
Office: JO 5.404
Areas of Specialization: 19th- and 20th-century visual representation: mechanical, assisted, and handmade; the history of art museums and of private collecting in capitalist societies; visual "translation" of texts; artists as writers; 19th- and 20th-century architecture.
Education: PhD, Yale University, 1977
MA, Yale University, 1973
BA, Yale University, 1971
Richard Brettell is among the foremost authorities in the world on Impressionism and French Painting of the period 1830-1930. With three degrees from Yale University, he has taught at The University of Texas, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University and is currently Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetics in the Interdisciplinary Program in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is also an international museum consultant with projects in Europe, Asia, and the United States. He established the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums at UT Dallas.
In 1980, Dr. Brettell was appointed Searle Curator of European Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1988, he became the McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Since leaving the DMA, Dr. Brettell has been involved with the purchase of the M. H.W. Ritchie Collection for the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, with the building and renovation program of the Portland Museum of Art (Oregon), and with the Millennium Gift of the Sara Lee Collection, for which the company won the National Medal for the Arts in 1999. He is Senior Advisor for International Art for the National Gallery of Australia and is working with Professor Stephen Eisenman of Northwestern University to catalogue the collection of 19th and 20th century French Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.
Dr. Brettell worked with Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn, former Ambassador to France, and Françoise Cachin, former Director of the French National Museums, to create FRAME (French/Regional/American Museum Exchange). Dr. Brettell has established at UT Dallas the American office of FRAME, a coalition of 24 regional museums in both countries.
Dr. Brettell is actively engaged with architecture in Dallas, as a board member and founding president of the Dallas Architecture Forum, as a Consultant to Philip Johnson for The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, and as curator of an exhibition devoted to "Five Dallas Modern Architects" for UT Dallas in January/February 2002. This exhibition has traveled to the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas in Austin, and the University of Houston. He has published architectural criticism, including "Beyond the Golden Age: Three New Art Museums for Texas" in Southwest Review (Vol. 87, no. 4) and "Lost in Translation: Ando's Building for The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth" for CITE: A Quarterly publication of the Rice Design Alliance.