An internationally-respected art historian and curator, Colin B. Bailey most recently served as the deputy director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at The Frick Collection in New York. Prior to joining the Frick, Bailey worked as the deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada, and has also held curatorial positions at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth.
Born in London, Bailey earned his doctorate in art history at Oxford University. He specializes in 18th and 19th-century French art, was named Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1994 for his contribution to French culture and was promoted to Officier in 2010. He also held a residency under Henri Loyrette, the former president and director of the Louvre in Paris, the largest museum in the world.
Bailey is credited with revitalizing the Frick’s curatorial department and, as deputy director, he oversaw the conservation, education, registration, exhibition management, publications and photography departments. He began at the Frick as chief curator, rising to associate director and then deputy director, expanding his management responsibilities at each level. It is his curatorial expertise, however, that earned him an international reputation.
He has organized more than two dozen exhibitions, including the recent Renoir, Impressionism and Full-Length Painting at the Frick, many of which have represented new scholarship and have been praised for providing keen insights into individual artists. Other exhibitions include Masterpieces of European Painting from Dulwich Picture Gallery; Renoir’s Landscapes, 1865-1883; and Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Lugt Collections.
Bailey’s many publications include The Loves of the Gods: Mythological Painting from Watteau to David; Masterpieces of Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection; and Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, the book that won the Mitchell Prize.
Bailey is a skilled administrator and advocate for the arts. He secured critical funds for exhibitions, endowed positions, and educational programs throughout his career. In addition to being a visiting professor at esteemed universities such as Columbia University, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Pennsylvania, he is a regular contributor to radio art shows in New York, presented on a PBS series, and was a guest commentator on the nationally-syndicated Charlie Rose show.