Graham Boettcher

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Graham Boettcher

Graham Corray Boettcher (born March 2, 1973 in Bellingham, Washington) is the R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, a title he has held since September 2017. He previously served as Luce Foundation Curatorial Fellow of American Art from From September 2006 to July 2008. He was named the William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art in July 2008, chief curator of the museum in July 2014, and deputy director in February 2016.

Boettcher completed his bachelor of arts in German Studies at Yale University in 1995. Boettcher earned a master of arts in Art History at the University of Washington in 1999. His master's thesis was entitled "God's First Temples: Pantheistic Constructions in Nineteenth-Century German and American Landscape." Boettcher then returned to Yale, where he received his PhD in the History of Art in 2006. His doctoral dissertation was entitled "Domestic Violence: The Politics of Family and Nation in Antebellum American Art." In 1998, Boettcher was a Davidson Family Fellow at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; and in 2001, was a fellow of the Terra Foundation Summer Residency in Giverny, France.

Boettcher is responsible for the Museum's collections of American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and decorative arts before 1945. His first curated exhibit of works from the Museum's permanent collection was "Sea Fever: American Art and the Aquatic Imagination," (May-July 2007) which also featured privately-owned works. Each piece was complemented by a quotation from literature and the exhibit was accompanied by an oceanic soundscape. In 2008, he organized a sequel to Sea Fever, entitled "Into the Woods: American Art and the Natural Sublime." Boettcher also curated and wrote the gallery guide for "Pražské noci / Prague Nights: Czech Modern Art from the Hascoe Collection," an exhibition that was part of the Birmingham International Festival's Salute to the Czech Republic. Other exhibitions curated by Boettcher include "Framing A Nation: Portraits of the Founding Fathers from the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art," "Promise & Peril: Images of Westward Expansion from the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art," and "Body Image: American Art and the Human Form."

Boettcher's publications include contributions to the exhibition catalogues American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820-1880 (Tate Publishing and Princeton University Press, 2002), Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds (Yale University Press, 2007), and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery (Yale University Press, 2008). His article "A Family Affair: The Silverwork of Franklin Porter and Helen Porter Philbrick," appeared in the 2008 issue of the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin.

Preceded by:
Gail Andrews
Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art
Succeeded by:


  • Pelfrey, David (March 22, 2007) "Prague Nights: The BMA hosts the first major exhibition of Czech modern art in the Southeast." Black & White
  • Strickland, Susan (June 12, 2007) "BMA brings ocean's majesty to Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Pelfrey, David (July 12, 2007) "The Life Aquatic." Black & White
  • Nelson, James R. (March 16, 2008) "BMA's small spaces exhibit rich rewards." The Birmingham News
  • Strickland, Susan (August 10, 2008) "Birmingham Museum of Art." The Birmingham News
  • Pelfrey, David (July 24, 2008), "Canvassing America." Black & White
  • "Birmingham Exam: Graham Boettcher of the Birmingham Museum of Art takes our pop quiz." (May 6, 2011) The Birmingham News