The du Pont Americana Symposium 2022
Meet the Panel
Erik Gronning, Senior Vice President, Head of Americana, Sotheby’s
Erik Gronning joined Sotheby’s in 2004. He is a noted American furniture scholar who has written extensively on late 17th and early 18th century American furniture for numerous publications, including The Magazine Antiques, The Catalog of Antiques and Fine Art and American Furniture and the Chipstone Foundation’s yearly journal. He is currently researching New York seating furniture and a group of early Queen Anne Maine case furniture.
Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Mr Gronning was an active American furniture dealer and member of the Antique Dealers Association of America as well as numerous state dealer associations. He has worked for the New York Historical Society and the American Folk Art Museum and continues to advise various other institutions, including the Historic Warner House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He also is a National Council board member of the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Mr Gronning is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and Chemistry. He received a Master of Science degree in Entomology from Virginia Tech in 1994. Mr Gronning graduated from Sotheby’s American Arts Course in 1997.
Lisa Minardi, Executive Director, Historic Trappe
Lisa Minardi is a historian, museum director, curator, and author. Her exhibitions include A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans and the Art of Everyday Life (Winterthur, 2015); Quill & Brush: Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Material Culture (Free Library of Philadelphia, 2015); and Pastor & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania (Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, 2011). She is the author of numerous books, articles, and essays on Pennsylvania German art and culture including Drawn with Spirit: Pennsylvania German Fraktur from the Joan and Victor Johnson Collection (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2015). Minardi is the executive director of Historic Trappe, home to the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies in Trappe, Pa. She has a B.A. in history and museum studies from Ursinus College, an M.A. from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, and is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware.
Christopher Storb, Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork
Chris has worked professionally in the historic furniture field for over 40 years. His expertise is in the history of woodworking techniques, processes, and materials, coupled with the ability to share that expertise in a meaningful way with the public. Most recently he worked for the Dietrich American Foundation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art performing an examination, assessment, and treatment of over 150 wood objects in the Foundation’s collection. Prior to that he worked in the conservation department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art where he collaborated on the conservation of a broad range of American furniture in the Museum’s collection. He has published and lectured on historic furniture, woodcarving, and the history of woodworking and continues to write for his blog “In Proportion to the Trouble.”
Alan Andersen, Antique Furniture and Wooden Artifacts Restorer
Alan is a native of Wisconsin and resident of Pennsylvania. He went to University of Wisconsin and received his Bachelor or Science-Forestry in 1982. He has been an active professional antique restorer upon graduation.
Alan is the owner of Alan Andersen Ltd., an antique restoration and conservation business, Andersen and Stauffer Furniture Makers, a furniture reproductions business and Andersen-Knudsen design, an architectural interiors business.
Alexandra Kirtley, The Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art
A native of Baltimore, Mrs. Kirtley graduated from Hamilton College in 1993 with an A.B. (honors) in the history of art and history. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delaware (Winterthur Program in Early American Culture) in 1999 and completed significant courses of study in the history of art in Rome, Italy, and throughout Great Britain.
Mrs. Kirtley joined the American Art department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) as a curator in 2001. She oversees the museum’s world-renowned collection of early American furniture and decorative arts and has orchestrated substantial acquisitions to the PMA’s collection through gift as well as significant purchase. Her work has included overseeing a furniture collection survey (Luce Foundation); installing a series of small, innovative exhibitions (Getty Foundation); managing furniture conservation and upholstery treatments (Americana, Luce, von Hess, and Miller-Worley Foundations and PMA Women’s Committee) and architectural preservation (Wm. B. Dietrich Foundation). She received the endowment for her curatorial position (H. F. Lenfest and R. L. McNeil, Jr.) in 2009.
In addition to smaller exhibitions, Alexandra curated the retrospective “Colonial Philadelphia Porcelain: The Art of Bonnin & Morris” in 2008 and the groundbreaking “Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House” with conservator Peggy Olley as co-curator in 2016. Also in 2016, she and her curatorial colleagues began planning in earnest for the newly located, reinstalled, and reinterpreted galleries for early American art; postponed by COVID-19, these long-awaited new American art galleries opened to much fanfare and critical acclaim in May 2021.
Mrs. Kirtley speaks frequently at conferences and symposia and publishes research in scholarly journals as well as completing five stand-alone books. Most recently, she wrote the first-ever catalogue of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s outstanding collection of early American furniture, which was funded by Leslie Miller and Richard Worley and the NEH. Directed research began in 2015, and the catalogue was published on schedule in 2020; museum director Timothy Rub described the undertaking as “daunting.” Like “Classical Splendor” in 2016, this 336-page book was published with Yale University Press and sold out; the furniture catalogue is now in its second printing.
In addition to her work at the museum, Mrs. Kirtley is an appointee of the United States Senate’s Commission on Art (since 2003), is a member of the Board of Governors of The Decorative Arts Trust and the Advisory Board of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and is a trustee of the Delaware Historical Society and The Andalusia Foundation, which oversees the Biddle family’s Delaware River estate.
Alexandra Kirtley lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her husband Roger and their two children, Caroline and Henry.
Tara Cederholm, Curator and Vice President, Brookfield Arts Foundation
She worked in the auction field at Skinner, Inc. for two years, before returning to pursue graduate studies at Boston University. She received her MA in Art History with an emphasis on American furniture and decorative arts in 1993. During that time she also worked at Historic New England (then the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities), first as a research assistant and then as the Exhibition Administrator for “Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks of the New Hampshire Seacoast”.
Since 1993, Tara Cederholm has been the steward of a private collection focused on American furniture and decorative arts as well and Chinese furniture, ceramics and related decorative arts. During her tenure, the areas of interest have grown to include Chinese ceramics, furniture, and related decorative arts, Japanese art, and European silver and decorative arts. The collection also maintains its original focus on American furniture, decorative arts and painting.
Tara is the Curator and Vice President of the Brookfield Arts Foundation a private operating foundation which acquires and lends art works to various museums.
Tara was the project director for the disassembly, relocation, re-assembly and interpretation of Yin Yu Tang, an eighteenth-century Chinese home, now open to the public at the Peabody Essex Museum. This work included all facets of the project from initial conception to the final installation at the museum. (www.pem.org/sites/yinyutang/index.html)
Tara has lectured on topics of American, English and Chinese furniture history. She is the co-author of the article “‘Tortoiseshell & Gold’: Robert Davis and the Art of Japanning in Eighteenth-Century Boston” included in the book Boston Furniture, 1700-1900, published by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. She has also published shorter magazine and online articles. Her research into japanning continues and in 2017 she, along with Christine Thomson and Alyce Perry Englund, were awarded a fellowship at Winterthur to continue this work.
She serves on the Board of Governors of the Concord Museum and the Decorative Arts Trust.
Glenn Adamson, Independent Curator
Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer and historian based in New York. He has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design; Head of Research at the V&A; and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. Adamson’s publications include Thinking Through Craft (2007); The Craft Reader (2010); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011, accompanying the exhibition of that title at the V&A, co-curated with Jane Pavitt); The Invention of Craft (2013); Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan-Wilson; and Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects (2018). His newest book is Craft: An American History, published by Bloomsbury.
Alan Miller, Antiques Consultant
Alan Miller is an antique furniture consultant. He ran a furniture restoration shop in the Quakertown, Pennsylvania are for over 45 years responsible for the restoration of many pieces of fine furniture now in museums and private collections, with an emphasis on carving and research. He represents public and private clients at auction and has lectured and written numerous articles on furniture history and is on the editorial board of the Chipstone journal, American Furniture.