Dr. Anne L. Schroder, curator and academic program coordinator at the Nasher Museum at Duke University, died after a brief illness on Dec. 23, 2010, in Chapel Hill. She was 56.
Schroder had worked at Duke University since 1999, starting at the former Duke University Museum of Art. After the Nasher Museum opened in 2005, she oversaw museum collections, worked with faculty to organize exhibitions and coordinated the museumâ€™s student internship program. She published and lectured widely on 18th-century art and served as adjunct assistant professor of art history at Duke.
One of Schroderâ€™s favorite works of art in the permanent collection was a French painting by FranÃ§ois GÃ©rard, â€œClytemnestra Hearing the News of Iphigeniaâ€™s Impending Sacrifice (1787).â€ Schroder discovered the painting in November 2001 in the Paris gallery of French art broker Etienne Breton of Blondeau and AssociÃ©s. The artistâ€™s name was not known, the Greek scene in the painting was unidentified and the paintingâ€™s varnish had yellowed with age. At Schroderâ€™s recommendation, the Duke University Museum of Art bought the painting as an unattributed painting from Jacques-Louis Davidâ€™s studio. After four years of sleuthing, in 2006, Schroder confirmed that the anonymous work was painted by the young FranÃ§ois GÃ©rard.
In 2009, Schroder was able to increase faculty and student use of the museumâ€™s collections, thanks to a $500,000 grant received that year from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Schroder curated and oversaw many installations from the museumâ€™s permanent collection, including the museumâ€™s inaugural exhibition, â€œNature, Gender, Ritualâ€ (2005), and also coordinated exhibitions with faculty.
Before Schroder came to Duke University, she held curatorial positions at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, and taught art history at the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota. Schroder earned doctoral and masterâ€™s degrees in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelorâ€™s degree in art history from Smith College. She was president of Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture and alumnae admissions coordinator of the Smith Club of the Triangle, Inc.
Schroder was preceded in death by her father, Hughes Spalding Schroder, and is survived by her husband, Eric D. Vance, son, Spalding C. Vance, mother, Frances Longino Schroder, brother, Fr. Danielemoses Hughes Schroder, and sisters, Gwin White, Elizabeth Schroder Boyle and Mary Schroder.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations can be made to the Smith College Fund and directed to scholarship support. Gifts may be made online, by calling (800) 241-2056 or by mailing a check to the Gift Accounting Unit, Smith College, 33 Elm Street, Northampton, MA, 0106. A memorial service in Chapel Hill, NC, is planned for Saturday, January 15, 2011, at 2 p.m. at Binkley Baptist Church, 1712 Willow Dr., Chapel Hill. A graveside service will take place in Atlanta at a later date.