Matthew Hargraves, courtesy of the Yale Center for British Art

Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections, to leave the Yale Center for British Art

NEW HAVEN, CT (January 7, 2021)—Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections, will be departing the Center in February 2021. Hargraves began his career at the Center in 2005 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Paintings and Sculpture. In that capacity he authored a volume on Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale University Press, 2007). In 2008, Hargraves joined the Department for Collections Information and Access (CIA) as the Assistant Curator for Collections Research, and in 2011 he became the head of that department. Among his many achievements as the head of CIA was the development of the first online catalogue of the Center’s collections. In 2014, Hargraves was promoted to Chief Curator of Art Collections. Working alongside Scott Wilcox, he played a leading role in the reinstallation of the Center’s collection, Britain in the World (2016), which placed more than 500 works from the collections into a chronological narrative emphasizing the global contexts of British art.

Hargraves’s other curatorial projects at the Center included Varieties of Romantic Experience (2010), which comprised more than 200 northern European drawings from the collection of Charles Ryskamp and was accompanied by an edited volume; Connections (2011), an exhibition of the Center’s collections marking the launch of the online collections catalogue; and Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain (2019), the Center’s first exhibition dedicated to exploring film and video art. He has worked with Hilton Als on exhibitions featuring the work of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2019) and Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Yale MFA 2011) (forthcoming). Alongside the Yiadom-Boakye exhibition, Hargraves organized a loan of Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of the artist, installed in the Center’s fourth-floor galleries. Most recently, Hargraves was responsible for the exhibition Love, Life, Death, and Desire: An Installation of the Center’s Collections, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Damien Hirst’s installation In and Out of Love (1991).

“Matthew’s dedication to stewarding the Center’s collections and his deep knowledge and expertise in British art will be greatly missed. We wish him every success in his future career,” said Deputy Director and Chief Curator Martina Droth.

Hargraves received his PhD in the history of art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and his BA from the University of Warwick. His dissertation was published as a book, Candidates for Fame: The Society of Artists of Great Britain (2006, Yale University Press), which was shortlisted for the William M. B. Berger Prize for British Art History. Since then he has published other titles, including in 2014, with Rachel Sloan, A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany, and most recently an essay on William Blake in the exhibition catalogue William Blake: Visionary (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2020). In 2013, he was the Lowell Libson Morgan-Courtauld Fellow at the Morgan Library & Museum. Later, he contributed to Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection (2017), published by the Morgan Library and accompanied by an exhibition.

About the Yale Center for British Art

The Center is a museum that houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, encompassing works in a range of media from the fifteenth century to the present. It offers exhibitions and programs year-round, including lectures, concerts, films, symposia, tours, and family events. Opened to the public in 1977, the Center’s core collection and landmark building—designed by architect Louis I. Kahn—were a gift to Yale University from the collector and philanthropist Paul Mellon. It is free and open to all. Visit the Center online at, and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube @yalebritishart.

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