Director's Welcome

Welcome to the O’Donnell Institute

Richard Brettell, director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, is among the world’s foremost authorities on Impressionism and French painting from 1830 to 1930.

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History was founded in 2014 with a $17,000,000 endowment gift from Mrs. Edith O’Donnell, an important Dallas philanthropist. Her charge was to invent a new kind of art history—what she called "Art History, UT Dallas style." What she envisioned was an art history open to multidisciplinary research and at home in a university on the cutting edge of the sciences and technology. Since then, Mrs. O’Donnell’s endowment has been enriched by $10,000,000 from the State of Texas and $3,000,000 from other philanthropists.

Since our founding in 2014 we have built two headquarters: our main offices in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building at UT Dallas and a research center at the Dallas Museum of Art. In the coming years, we will build a faculty, a newly formed graduate program, a research library, and a museum on the already strong foundation of our existing art history program. Our first O’Donnell Distinguished Chair is in the area of Conservation Science and represents a full partnership between the DMA, the O’Donnell Institute, and UT Dallas’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

This website is a continuously evolving record of our growth and transformation, as well as a source of information about our scholars, students, programs, and partnerships. I welcome you to it in the name of our founder, Edith O’Donnell.

— Dr. Richard R. Brettell
Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History
and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair