In April 2015, Colin B. Bailey was named the sixth director of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Founded in 1906 by financier and philanthropist Pierpont Morgan, the museum is internationally recognized for its collections of drawings, medieval manuscripts, rare books and letters, and music manuscripts, and is a noted research center as well.
Colin Bailey is a specialist in eighteenth-century French art and a recognized authority on the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Art History from the University of Oxford.
Prior to joining the Morgan, Bailey held the position of Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Previously he served in a variety of positions at New York’s Frick Collection for over thirteen years, including deputy director and the Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator.
He has been responsible for many celebrated exhibitions. These include Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting (2012); Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection (2009); and Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724‒1780) (2007), —all mounted at the Frick Collection in New York; and Renoir Landscapes, 1865‒1883 (2007); The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard: Masterpieces of Eighteenth-Century French Genre Painting (2003); and Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an
Age (1997)—at the National Gallery of Canada.
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, and in 2011 he authored the well-received Fragonard’s Progress of Love at The Frick Collection.
Bailey has taught graduate seminars in eighteenth-century French art at Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University, and the City University of New York Graduate Center; in 2010 he was promoted to the rank of Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.