The Minneapolis Institute of Arts announced today that the museum has hired Eike Schmidt to take the helm as curator of the institution’s decorative arts department. Schmidt is internationally known for his expertise in European sculpture: He was associate curator of sculpture and decorative arts for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for a number of years, and before that Schmidt worked at the National Gallery in Washington, and at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, Italy. Most recently, he served as director of European sculpture and works of art for the famous Sotheby’s auction house in London.
This is just the latest in a series of new curatorial placements (Elizabeth Neilson Armstrong, Thomas E. Rassieur, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, David E. Little) by MIA Director Kaywin Feldman in the past year. At a time when many art institutions are leaving such vacancies unfilled, it’s notable that the MIA has moved so quickly to fill out its ranks, and with such impressive hires.
According to Schmidt, the museum is smart to do so, as it’s in a prime position to add to the collection right now: “The current art market provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to add significant works of art to the museum’s already strong holdings.”
As curator of decorative arts, Schmidt will lead one of the larger departments at the MIA, overseeing the museum’s collection of more than 18,000 works in all media — including sculpture, textiles and fiber art, glass, ceramics, furniture, metal and woodwork — from America and Europe, from the Middle Ages to the present.
The MIA says Schmidt will make the transition into his new role later this year.