John Elderfield (born 25 April 1943) was the Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 2003 to 2008.
Elderfield studied the history of art at the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds. He received his PhD from the University of London in 1975.
In 1974, Elderfield edited and introduced the diary of the Zurich Dada artist Hugo Ball, Hugo Ball: the flight out of time. This publications was revised in 1996.
Elderfield joined the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as Curator of Painting and Sculpture in 1975. He served the Museum as Chief Curator at Large from 1993 to 2003. As Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum, he reinstalled that collection in 2004 in its newly rebuilt premises.
Elderfield had published studies of Henri Matisse, Kurt Schwitters, Richard Diebenkorn, Howard Hodgkin, and Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. In 1986, Elderfield received the Eric Mitchell Prize for his book on Schwitters.
Elderfield contributed a catalog essay to the exhibition of Bob Dylan's paintings at the National Gallery of Denmark from September 2010 until April 2011
He serves on the board of the Dedalus Foundation, the Members’ Board of the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C, the American Advisory Committee of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the American Committee of the Praemium Imperiale, and the Advisory Committee of the Kate Weare Dance Company; is a Member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, and an Honorary Member of Proyecto Armando Reverón, Caracas.
Elderfield received the award of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government. In 2005, Time Magazine included Elderfield on their list of the 100 most influential people of 2005.