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Eiteljorg Insider | 5 Questions with James Nottage

by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | Aug 05, 2013
As vice president and chief curatorial officer, James has oversight of the Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions departments. This means planning and administration for the development of all the collections and their care and overall planning for exhibitions and related publications. He also serves as the Gund Curator of Western Art, History and Culture, developing exhibits, publications and the collections related to traditional art of the American West. 

James Nottage
James next to Bartering for a Bride by Alfred Jacob Miller

Favorite piece of art at the Eiteljorg
: Are you really going to make me pick just one?  Certainly, one of my favorites is Ernest Blumenshein’s The Plaster. It is beautifully painted. Then again, our beaded James Bay Cree hood is rare and quite special.  Or, how about Alfred Jacob Miller’s 1847 oil painting, Bartering for a Bride? Or, maybe . . .

 
1. What inspires you?
Great art and literature are at the top of the list. People who are devoted to important causes are as well. Beauty in nature is there too. I could go on and on.

2. If you could have any piece of art in the world in your home, what would it be? Being a typical curator, I can’t imagine having just one! Let’s see. Maybe I would like . . . No, how about . . . Oh, wait a minute, wouldn’t . . . Oh, boy. This is a tough question. Oh, I know:  Claude Monet’s Waterlillies, 1926. Now, ask me again and it will be something else.

3. If you weren’t a museum curator, what would you do?
I was first intrigued by museums in the 4th grade and decided to be a museum curator when I was in high school. I have not been able to get out of the game since. I enjoy doing free-lance writing and would be challenged by teaching. 

 4. Do you collect anything? 
I
 really am not a collector in an organized way. You might say that I accumulate books on Western art and the history of the West and I accumulate a lot of music, mostly blues, jazz, swing and American roots music. 

 5. If you could invite any artist to dinner, who would it be and why?
In the work I do as a curator, I often have this opportunity to interact with many of my favorite artists. The individuals it would be nice to connect with are the painters and sculptors who are no longer living. I’d love to spend time with George Catlin, talking about his 1830s trips to the West. A. P. Proctor would be interesting to be with, talking about his sculptures and techniques. Oh, and Thomas Moran in his later years would be good company, discussing how the art world changed during his career and what kept him inspired.

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