STEPHANIE BROWN, PHD
Historian, Curator, Teacher
History & Art & Museums
I trained as a professional historian, practice as a curator, and teach as a museum thinker. I value exploration and listening. I am curious. I have led strategic planning and advised people and institutions. I coordinate social media for a variety of sites. I build relationships across the museum field. And I research and write: my current project considers the history of a painting, Flowers and Fruit, that was attributed to Paul Gauguin for almost a century before being reclassified as a forgery.
TEACHING & LECTURING
I have taught museum studies and arts administration at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised undergraduate and graduate interns in museums and arts organizations, and advised MA projects in both on the ground and online classrooms. I am currently Program Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in the Johns Hopkins University MA in Museum Studies program, where I teach curatorship, collection management, and a variety of other courses. I am also an invited speaker at museums and in university continuing studies programs. Here's a sampling of courses and lectures.
GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
THE SECRET LIVES OF PAINTINGS:
NEW PAINTINGS, OLD MASTERS
A lost da Vinci, a rediscovered Caravaggio, a reattributed Van Gogh: new paintings by old masters seem to turn up regularly. New research and insights can change what we know, or think we know, about works of art. This course will add new chapters to the secret life of the painting known as Flowers and Fruit, formerly attributed to Paul Gauguin and now without an author. If Paul Gauguin didn’t paint it, who did?
Assemble clues as we examine the men and women who exhibited alongside Paul Gauguin in 1890s Paris: their habits, their foibles, their haunts. Learn about the Paris gallery owners who sold his work—from the Right Bank to the Left, from the belle époque to the grey years following World War I. Using the tools of provenance research and historical detective work, identify the suspects and draw your own conclusions about whether Flowers and Fruit is a find—or a forgery.
ARTIST, OBJECT, MUSE, COLLECTOR: WOMEN ARTISTS AND THE 19TH CENTURY ART WORLD
This lecture examines the complicated, contested, and sometimes contentious roles of women in the French and American art world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It compares the careers of the phenomenally successful French artist Rosa Bonheur and the stymied painting career--but successful collecting career--of her American contemporary, Blanche Butterworth Haggin. By doing so, the lecture builds a context for thinking about consistency and change in the art world.
Why do we privilege the real and authentic? What does authentic mean--and how has its meaning changed over time and across places? By engaging with three different case studies of fakes and forgeries, this interactive lecture invites the audience to think deeply about why we value the authentic--and how we draw the line between the real and the fake.