Peter Selz, Senior Curator

“Identifying excellent artists who have not as yet received the full recognition they deserve — coupled with the process of creating serious attention for them — is important work. I am pleased to be working with Peter Hastings Falk on Discoveries in American Art.”

Peter Selz is Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of California, Berkeley. He was one of the first art historians to examine German Expressionism as a political phenomenon rather than from a formalist perspective.  The story of his career as a pioneering scholar and curator can be found in his Beyond the Mainstream: Fifty years of Curating Modern and Contemporary Art [New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997] and in Paul Karlstrom’s Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012].

As Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture Exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art during the 1950s-60s his exhibitions included a number of important retrospectives, including retrospectives for Mark Rothko in 1960, Jean Dubuffet in 1962, Max Beckmann 1964, Alberto Giacometti in 1965, and the first Rodin retrospective in the United States. He then became the Founding Director of the Berkeley Art Museum at the University of California.

For more than sixty years he has helped artists at critical moments in their careers, including Jean Tinguely, Leon Golub, Bruce Conner, Nathan Oliveira, George Rickey, Fletcher Benton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and many others. He is most recently curating exhibitions by William T. Wiley, Enrique Chagoya, and Yisrael Feldsott. Since 1993 he has served on the acquisitions committee of the Museums of Fine Arts, San Francisco.