Robert La France
Director of the David Owsley Museum of Art
Robert G. La France is the director and chief curator of the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University, which boasts a growing encyclopedic collection of global art and a robust exhibition program of early modern, modern, and contemporary art. Previously, he was curator of pre-modern art at Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a research associate at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He has curated exhibitions on George Inness, Paper Impressionists, and Stradivari instruments, and contributed to exhibition catalogues for the National Gallery of Canada, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Groeningenmuseum in Bruges, Belgium, among others.
Bob studied art history at California State University at San Bernardino, a public university similar in size and scope to Ball State. He spent his junior year abroad in Italy, and returned there to earn a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s Florence-based program in Renaissance art. While pursuing his Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, he divided his time between research and work as a fine arts appraiser in New York.
His academic research has been supported by the Fulbright Program in Italy and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti in Florence. His first book examines the life and work of a Florentine Renaissance artist, Bachiacca: Artist of the Medici Court (2008). His second, edited volume investigates the career of a nineteenth-century American sculptor, Lorado Taft: The Chicago Years (2014). He is currently focusing his scholarship on exhibitions and the acquisition of works of art that enhance the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection.