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Thoma Art Foundation: Thoma Scholar – Art of the Spanish Americas

Foundation Summary

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation recognizes the power of the arts to challenge and shift perceptions, spark creativity, and connect people across cultures. We lend and exhibit artworks from our collection and provide grants to support innovative individuals and projects in our collection areas (Art of the Spanish Americas, Digital & Electronic Art, Japanese Bamboo, and Post-War Painting & Sculpture). 

In Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, our Orange Door exhibition space is open by-appointment to collectors, schools and arts organization for tours of the foundation’s art collection.

In Santa Fe, the Art House is a public exhibition space with seasonal rotations of artwork from our collection and hosts educational programming.

Collection Summary

The Foundation’s Art of the Spanish Americas collection numbers more than 160 works from the 17th to 19th centuries, principally paintings from South America. The collection includes works on religious themes and portraits from the Viceroyalty of Peru (and the smaller entities such as the Kingdom of Nueva Granada into which it was divided in the eighteenth century), as well as a small selection of portraits from the Spanish Caribbean. Upwards of 50% of the works are on loan to various museums to include the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Blanton Museum of Art.

Position Description

The Thoma Art Foundation is accepting applications for the Thoma Scholar – Art of the Spanish Americas. The scholar will lead all aspects of our Arts of the Spanish Americas (ASA) collection including research, documentation and promotion of the collection, oversee fellowships and work collaboratively with other departments within the foundation to coordinate loans and advise on grants related to the collection.

The position responsibilities will be broken into two parts. 50% of the scholar’s time will be devoted to research, documentation and analysis of the existing ASA collection. The remaining 50% will involve proactive outreach with leading scholars and museums to expand awareness of the Thoma’s ASA collection with the intention to introduce loan opportunities for future exhibitions, and networking with dealers and auction houses to pursue new acquisition opportunities.  

The ASA Thoma Scholar will utilize excellent interpersonal skills and a dynamic personality to cultivate relationships that lead to new partnerships with art organizations and museums around the world. This includes being a visible and active member of the national and international art community.

Several months of international and domestic will be required to Chicago, Santa Fe, Madrid and South America to conduct site-specific research, to meet with museums, auction houses and dealers and to build relationships with leaders in the field.

The scholar will be offered an office at a Thoma Foundation property in Chicago, IL or Santa Fe, NM where they will work 40 hours weekly, Monday through Friday between 8:30am to 5:00pm for a continuous 12-month period. The option to work remotely is available for scholars who are unable to work from Chicago or Santa Fe. The Thoma Foundation will award a salary with health benefits and a stipend will be included to cover monthly cellular cost for home office working arrangements.  Including work remote arrangements, it is expected that the scholar is dedicating their time to Art of the Spanish Americas project work assigned by the foundation and must be available for phone calls and to participate in meetings anytime during the 8:30am and 5:00pm hours of the work week.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • In collaboration with the collection’s long-time adjunct curator, oversee the research and documentation of Art of the Spanish Americas collection
  • Conduct pre-acquisition research, including provenance, appraisals and condition evaluations
  • Oversee and document conservation work
  • Develop a communications plan to increase awareness and to reach new audiences for Spanish American art
  • Cultivate relationships with peer institutions and engage external leaders and partners to develop loan relationships and collection-centered exhibitions
  • Frequent travel to meet with curators, dealers and auction houses, domestically and internationally
  • Offer insights and guidance on grants related to the collection
  • Organize internal and traveling exhibitions from the collection
  • Plan, oversee and contribute to updated scholarly publication of the collection (and possible traveling exhibition)


  • Ph.D. in Art History or related field with graduate work on the history of art of South America, principally colonial Peru
  • Spanish fluency including conversational, written, and advanced translations
  • Superior research, written and verbal communication skills
  • Self-directed and self-motivated with the ability to execute on plans independent of direction
  • Strong interpersonal skills, a dynamic personality, and the ability to foster relationships that lead to new partnerships with art organizations and museums
  • Creative and confident to propose new ideas

Candidates with academic and professional experience in a museum, arts foundation, or other organization focused on the visual arts are encouraged to apply.

The candidate accepted as the ASA Thoma Scholar may not concurrently hold other Thoma Art Foundation fellowships or grants while working in their scholar position.

Location & Hours

This position is open to candidates nationwide and is available for working remotely. We can provide office space and conference rooms in Chicago and Santa Fe.


This position is open to candidates nationwide and is available for working remotely.  We can provide office space and conference rooms in Chicago and Santa Fe. This is a full-time position which requires 40 hours worked weekly, Monday through Friday between 8:30am to 5:00pm.


$55,000 base salary and health benefit offered plus accrued paid time off.


Applications are being accepted now through August 31, 2020.  The anticipated start date is October 1, 2020.

We acknowledge that the 12-month term starting in October is out of cycle with traditional scholar positions. We can be flexible on the term length if candidates are concerned with the 12-month term interfering with tenured opportunities starting in August and September. 

To apply, please send your cover letter, resume or C.V., and a published article or writing sample of no more than 10 pages to


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