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Thomas W. Lentz ’74

Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums

Thomas W. Lentz is the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. He oversees one of the leading arts institutions in the United States, with a collection of more than 260,000 objects and a staff of over 249, and which is in the midst of a fundamental and decade-long transformation of its physical facilities.

After serving as curator of Asian art at the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, he moved to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he headed the Department of Ancient and Islamic art. Lentz returned to the East Coast in 1992 to the Smithsonian, initially as head of research and collections at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, later becoming deputy director, before being appointed director of the Smithsonian’s International Art Museums Division in 2000. He came to Harvard in mid-November 2003.

Lentz currently serves on several advisory committees, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Visiting Committee for the Department of Arts of Asia, Oceania, and Africa, since 2001; ARTstor Advisory Council, since 2009; Princeton University Art Museum Advisory Council, since 2009; Sakip Sabanci Museum, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Board and International Advisory Board, 2009-2011 then International Board of Overseers since 2011; Association of Art Museum Directors Board of Trustees, since 2012. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lentz graduated from Claremont Men’s College in January 1975. He earned an MA in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in December 1978 and an MA in Islamic Art at Harvard University in May 1981. A 1985 graduate of Harvard’s doctoral program in art history, he is a specialist in Persian painting.

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