Director Colin B. Bailey

Photo by Randy Dodson, © FAMSF

Colin B. Bailey became the Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in June 2013. He oversees the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park.

Prior to his arrival in California, Bailey served as Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at The Frick Collection in New York. He had been Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Senior Curator at the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, and held curatorial posts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum earlier in his career.

Bailey earned a DPhil in Art History from the University of Oxford. A specialist in 18th- and 19th-century French art, and a recognized authority on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, he has been responsible for many celebrated catalogues and books, among them Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting (2012); Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection (2009); Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724-1780) (2007); Renoir Landscapes, 1865-1883 (2007); The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard: Masterpieces of 18th-century French Genre Painting (2003); Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age (1997); The Loves of the Gods: Mythological Painting from Watteau to David (1992); and The First Painters of the King: French Royal Taste from Louis XIV to the Revolution (1985). His book Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris was awarded the Mitchell Prize for the best art history book of 2002-2003. He has taught graduate seminars in 18th-century French art at Bryn Mawr, Columbia University, and CUNY Graduate Center and has acted as a spokesperson in video, podcast, and broadcast media nationally and internationally.

An Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2010, Bailey has been recognized by the Foundation for Italian Art and Culture with its 2013 FIAC Excellency Award.


Read The New York Times article “In San Francisco, a Scholar Gets His Dream Post” profiling Colin Bailey, originally published October 2014.