The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas (UT) has announced that Francesca Consagra, Curator Emerita at the Blanton, has passed away. Consagra was senior curator of prints and drawings and European paintings at the Blanton from 2012 to 2016.
“Francesca was an eminently thoughtful curator, scholar, and thinker,” said Simone Wicha, Blanton Museum of Art director. “Raised in an artistic family, Francesca understood the power of art to enrich lives. Her work throughout her career, which touched topics as varied as Rembrandt’s prints, botanical illustrations, Indian and Buddhist art, and contemporary German drawings, brought light and meaning to both objects and visitors. She was beloved by the Blanton staff, and will be deeply missed.”
At the Blanton, Consagra made key acquisitions to the museum’s encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings and organized critically acclaimed exhibitions such as Luminous: 50 Years of Collecting Prints & Drawings at the Blanton and Portraits During the Reign of George III, as well as engaging visitor favorites such as the 2014 exhibition In the Company of Cats and Dogs. The Austin Chronicle wrote: “Sure, ‘In the Company of Cats and Dogs’ is zoological and historical but, when it comes down to it, it’s a fun exhibition that gives us an opportunity to see and experience the world through thoroughly different eyes.”
Attuned to both civic and university communities, she forged strong connections on the UT campus, growing visitorship to the print study room to more than 2,500 annually. She also planned the reinstallation for the Blanton’s collections of prints and drawings and European paintings to reinvigorate the gallery experience and enhance visitors’ understanding of the works on view.
Prior to her tenure at the Blanton, Consagra was the senior curator at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis; the curator and head of the Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the St. Louis Art Museum; curator of prints and drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center; and lecturer in the art department at Vassar College.
Below is a short interview with Consagra about the process of curating In the Company of Cats and Dogs.