Robert La France directs the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, which boasts a growing encyclopedic collection of global art and a robust exhibition program of early modern, modern, and contemporary art. Previously, he was curator of pre-modern art at Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a research associate at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He has curated exhibitions on George Inness, Paper Impressionists, and Stradivari instruments, and contributed to exhibition catalogues for the National Gallery of Canada and the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, among several others.
Bob’s training has included both traditional university education and immersive investigation of works of art in the United States and Europe, particularly Italy. He studied art history at California State University at San Bernardino, a public university similar to Ball State. He spent his junior year abroad in Italy, and returned there to earn a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s Florence-based program in Renaissance art. While pursuing his Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, he divided his time between research and work as a fine arts appraiser in New York. His academic research has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Carlo Marchi Foundation, and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. His first book, Bachiacca: Artist of the Medici Court, examines the life and work of a Florentine Renaissance artist. He has published articles on Francisco Goya and the artists connected to Raphael and edited a book about Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft.
GLI Peer Mentor (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)