Mary Diana Lee Sheriff (September 19, 1950 – October 19, 2016) was an American art historian, and W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Art History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specialized in Eighteenth century French art, decorative arts, gender studies, and material culture.
Sheriff was a leading scholar on 18th- and 19th-century French art and culture and the Rococo period. Her work focused on issues of creativity, sexuality, gender, and travel and culture exchange. Her research included traditional facets of visual culture such as painting and sculpture, while also incorporating gardens, book illustration, material culture, performance, and the graphic arts.
More recently, Sheriff expanded her research to Turquerie and cultural exchange in the eighteenth century, and Medusa as figure and symbol in art and culture.
- 2009: Mellor Book Prize from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, awarded to her and co-author Melissa Hyde for best proposal for a scholarly book on an individual woman artist or subject related to the mission of NMWA. Their winning proposal was later published into a book, titled Women in French Art: Rococo to Realism.
- 2010: Guggenheim fellowship
- J.-H. Fragonard: Art and Eroticism, University of Chicago Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0-226-75273-0
- The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Art. University of Chicago Press. 1996. ISBN 978-0-226-75282-2.
- Moved by Love: Inspired Artists and Deviant Women in Eighteenth-Century France. University of Chicago Press. 2004. ISBN 978-0-226-75287-7.; 2008, ISBN 978-0-226-75288-4
- Antoine Watteau: Perspectives on the Artist and the Culture of His Time. University of Delaware Press. 2006. ISBN 978-0874139341.
- Mary D. Sheriff, ed. (2006). Antoine Watteau: perspectives on the artist and the culture of his time. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 978-0-87413-934-1.
- Mary D. Sheriff (ed.) Cultural contact and the making of European art since the age of exploration, University of North Carolina Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8078-3366-7
- MARY SHERIFF Obituary
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2011-05-12.