Thomas W. Lentz

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Thomas W. Lentz
Thomas Woodward Lentz Jr.

June 11, 1951 (1951-06-11) (age 67)
Alma materClaremont Men's College
Harvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Spouse(s)Mary Pfeifer

Thomas Woodward Lentz Jr. (born June 11, 1951) is an American art historian and curator.


Lentz has held numerous roles in the field of museum leadership. In 1982, he took his first role as curator at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in the Asian art department, until 1984, when he took a curator role at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Egyptian, Islamic, and West Asian art.

In 1992, Lentz left the LACMA for an assistant director position at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, both at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1995, he was promoted to deputy and then acting director. In 2000, he officially became the director of the International Art Museums as the Smithsonian Institution, covering all the departments he had worked for previously.

On November 15, 2003, Lentz was named the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums.[1] On July 1, 2015, he stepped down from his post as director.[2]


Lentz received his B.A. in art history from Claremont Men's College in 1974.[3] He continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley receiving a M.A. in Near Eastern studies in 1978 and a second M.A. in Islamic art at Harvard University in 1981. He then received his Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1985. His studies focused on Islamic art (specifically Persian painting) and he wrote his doctoral thesis on Painting at Herat under Bāysunghur ibn Shāhrukh.[4]


  • Architecture in Islamic Painting: Permanent and Impermanent Worlds, with Michele A. De Angelis, 1982, ISBN 0916724514
  • Timur and the Princely Vision: Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century, 1989, ISBN 978-0874747065
  • Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, with Thomas Lawton, 1999, ISBN 978-0295979083


External links[edit]

Preceded by
James Cuno
Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director
Harvard Art Museums

2003 – 2015
Succeeded by
Martha Tedeschi