Thomas W. Lentz

Last updated
Thomas W. Lentz
BornThomas Woodward Lentz Jr.
June 11, 1951 (1951-06-11) (age 66)
Nationality American
Alma mater Claremont Men's College
Harvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Spouse(s) Mary Pfeifer

Thomas Woodward Lentz Jr. (born June 11, 1951) is an American art historian and curator.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Curator content specialist charged with an institutions collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material

A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist charged with an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material.



Lentz has held numerous roles in the field of museum leadership. In 1982, he took his first role as curator at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in the Asian art department, until 1984, when he took a curator role at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Egyptian, Islamic, and West Asian art.

Rhode Island School of Design Museum art  & design museum in Providence, Rhode Island

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design is an art museum in Providence affiliated with the Rhode Island School of Design, in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The museum was founded in 1877 and is the 20th largest art museum in the United States.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art Encyclopedic, Art museum in Los Angeles, United States

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. LACMA is on Museum Row, adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits.

In 1992, Lentz left the LACMA for an assistant director position at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, both at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1995, he was promoted to deputy and then acting director. In 2000, he officially became the director of the International Art Museums as the Smithsonian Institution, covering all the departments he had worked for previously.

Freer Gallery of Art art museum in Washington, D.C.

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery form the Smithsonian Institution's national museums of Asian art in the United States. The Freer and Sackler galleries house the largest Asian art research library in the country and contain art from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, the ancient Near East, and ancient Egypt, as well as a significant collection of American art. The gallery is located on the south side of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., contiguous with the Sackler Gallery. The museum is open 364 days a year, and is administered by a single staff with the Sackler Gallery. The galleries are among the most visited art museums in the world.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery art museum in Washington, D.C.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art form the Smithsonian Institution's national museums of Asian art in the United States. The Freer and Sackler galleries house the largest Asian art research library in the country. Founded in 1982, the Gallery is named after Arthur M. Sackler, who donated approximately 1,000 objects and $4 million to the building of the museum. Located on the south side of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and being physically connected to the Freer Gallery of Art, 96% of the museum is located underground underneath the Enid A. Haupt Garden.

Smithsonian Institution group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government

The Smithsonian Institution, founded on August 10, 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. Originally organized as the "United States National Museum," that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.

On November 15, 2003, Lentz was named the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. [1] On July 1, 2015, he stepped down from his post as director. [2]

Harvard Art Museums Art museum in Massachusetts, United States

The Harvard Art Museums are part of Harvard University and comprise three museums: the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum and four research centers: the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. The three museums that constitute the Harvard Art Museums were initially integrated into a single institution under the name Harvard University Art Museums in 1983. The word "University" was dropped from the institutional name in 2008.


Lentz received his B.A. in art history from Claremont Men's College in 1974. [3] He continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley receiving a M.A. in Near Eastern studies in 1978 and a second M.A. in Islamic art at Harvard University in 1981. He then received his Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1985. His studies focused on Islamic art (specifically Persian painting) and he wrote his doctoral thesis on Painting at Herat under Bāysunghur ibn Shāhrukh. [4]

Bachelors degree Undergraduate academic degree

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a coeducational, private liberal arts college in Claremont, California. It has a curricular emphasis on economics, finance, international relations, government and public affairs. CMC is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium.

University of California, Berkeley Public university in California, USA

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in the United States. Located in the city of Berkeley, it was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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Preceded by
James Cuno
Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director
Harvard Art Museums

2003 – 2015
Succeeded by
Martha Tedeschi