Biography: Arthur Wheelock

Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art

Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1973. He came to the National Gallery of Art in 1973 as the David E. Finley Fellow, after which he was named research curator. At the same time, he began his teaching career at the University of Maryland, where he is professor of art history. He was appointed curator of Dutch and Flemish painting at the National Gallery in 1975.

Wheelock, who has lectured widely on Dutch and Flemish art, has written a number of books such as Perspective, Optics, and Delft Artists around 1650 (1977); Jan Vermeer (1981); Vermeer and the Art of Painting (1995); and the National Gallery of Art catalogue, Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century (1995). He has written articles and essays such as "The Story of Two Vermeer Forgeries," in Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive (1995); “Rembrandt Self-Portraits: The Creation of a Myth,” in Rembrandt, Rubens, and the Art of their Time: Recent Perspectives (1997); “The Queen, the Dwarf, and the Court: Van Dyck and the Ideals of the English Monarchy,” in Van Dyck 1599–1999: Conjectures and Refutations (2001); and “The Appreciation of Vermeer in Twentieth-Century America” (co-author with Marguerite Glass), in The Cambridge Companion to Vermeer (2001).

Wheelock has organized major exhibitions at the National Gallery, such as Gods, Saints & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (1980); Anthony van Dyck (1990); Johannes Vermeer (1995); Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller (1996); A Collector’s Cabinet (1998); From Botany to Bouquets: Flowers in Northern Art (1999); Gerrit Dou: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt (2000); Aelbert Cuyp (2001); Gerard ter Borch (2004); and Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits (2005). He also organized The Public and Private in the Age of Vermeer at the Osaka Municipal Museum, Japan, in 2000.

In 1982, at the time of the Dutch-American Bicentennial, Wheelock was named Knight Officer in the Order of the Orange-Nassau by the Dutch Government. The College Art Association/National Institute awarded him its Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation in 1993. He received the Minda de Gunzburg Prize for the best exhibition catalogue of 1995 (Johannes Vermeer); the Johannes Vermeer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dutch Art, which was presented by the Johannes Vermeer Stichting; the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College; and the Dutch-American Achievement Award, presented by The Netherlands American Amity Trust. In 2006 Wheelock was named Commander in The Order of Leopold I by the Belgian government.