1999 Distinguished Service Award
Eric Denker ’75
Eric Denker’s commitment to art and to Dickinson has been a happy marriage for the College. Currently he is president of the Friends of The Trout Gallery, a group of about 100 supporters of the on-campus art gallery. To support The Trout Gallery and its collections, this active member of the Washington, D.C. Alumni Club has presented very successful annual programs at the National Gallery of Art, where he is head of tours and lectures in the education division. Denker also is curator of prints and drawings at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Denker’s dedication to Dickinson has been recognized frequently over the years. He was the 1996 Alumni Volunteer of the Year and a Metzger Conway Fellow in 1987. Since 1995 he has been a member of the Alumni Council and the President’s Board of Advisors. Denker also is a class correspondent for Dickinson Magazine.
Denker’s affinity for art has grown throughout his life. After receiving his B.A. in art history from Dickinson, Denker completed an M.A. at the University of Maryland. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, concentrating on American artist James McNeill Whistler. His dissertation was the basis for a book and an exhibition he curated for the National Portrait Gallery entitled In Pursuit of the Butterfly: Portraits of James McNeill Whistler. In 1995 he curated Prints by Whistler and His Contemporaries at the National Gallery of Art.
His joint appointment to the National Gallery of Art and The Corcoran Gallery of Art requires a wide range of abilities. At the National Gallery, where he has worked since 1978, Denker supervises a staff of professional lecturers. For the last year he has also worked at the Corcoran, overseeing a permanent collection of more than 11,000 works on paper and coordinated an active special exhibition schedule, including the recent show, Sargent Drawings from the Corcoran Collections.
Georgetown University also benefits from Denker’s expertise in art. He is an adjunct professor in the Liberal Studies Degree Program. An active lecturer in the Washington, D.C. area, he frequently speaks on Italian art and culture, French painting, Whistler, Rembrandt and the history of prints. During the last decade Denker also has lectured in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and France for the Smithsonian Institution’s Art and Culture tour programs.
He has been recognized for his acumen in art in other ways. A Smith Fellowship in 1989 took him to Paris to research impressionist prints. In 1993, the United States Information Agency invited him to speak in Australia on museum education, American women printmakers, Americans in Venice, Whistler and Rembrandt, among various topics.
Denker lives in Falls Church, Virginia.
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