Wolfram Koeppe receives the Marica Vilcek Prize in Art History for his contributions to the study and curation of European decorative arts objects, and for his work to develop exhibitions and displays that engage and inspire audiences of all ages. As the Marina Kellen French Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, his contributions have left an indelible mark on the world of art history.
“The sheer beauty of objects and how they were made is essential to me,” he says. “I feel a duty to protect works of art for future generations.” He also enjoys the challenge of scholarship, saying, “There is nothing more rewarding than research—finding an artist/maker or a piece documented in an inventory leading to more discoveries. Detective work and uncovering hitherto hidden surprises keep me going.”
Koeppe studied law and art history in Giessen and Munich and completed his PhD studies in art history in Giessen. This formidable combination of disciplines gave him a unique perspective in the field. He began his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992 as a senior research assistant. Throughout his time there, he has been a driving force behind several groundbreaking exhibitions, publications, and permanent gallery installations.
One of his earliest noteworthy exhibitions was “Princely Splendor: The Dresden Court 1580–1620,” where he served as co-curator. His co-authorship of European Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art solidified his reputation as an authority in the field.
Beyond exhibitions and publications, Koeppe is renowned for his wide-ranging interests in the decorative arts and sculpture. He has led The Met’s acquisition of objects in these areas, many of which have since become essential components of the museum’s collection.
Koeppe’s work goes beyond scholarship and curation: he is also an educator, lecturer, and program developer. He has been actively involved in The Met’s media programs and efforts to create installations and exhibitions that make art accessible to a broader audience.
Awards and Accomplishments
- Member, Furniture History Society of Great Britain
- Founding Member, “Mobile,” the Society of Furniture and Interior History, Germany
- Member, Horological Society of New York
- Member, Renaissance Society of America
- American Friends of Attingham
- Marina Kellen French Senior Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Association of Art Museums Curators Foundation, Board Member
- Bard Graduate Center, Board Member
- New York School of Interior Design, Advisory Board