Stephen Scher

Chair of Graduate and Professional Schools Committee 

Dr. Scher was awarded a B.A. from Yale University in 1956, a M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University in 1961, and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale in 1966. He taught at Brown University in the Art Department from 1961 to 1974, becoming chair of the department in 1972. In 1969 he organized the exhibition, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, at the museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, with an accompanying catalogue. In 1974 he left Brown to become President and CEO of Scher Chemicals, Inc., a manufacturer of specialty organic chemicals. He held this position until he retired in 2004. During this period Dr. Scher also continued his activities as an art historian and guest curator, organizing, in 1994, the exhibition The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance, at The Frick Collection, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, accompanied by a major catalogue. In 1997, he organized a second exhibition at the Frick: The Proud Republic: Dutch Medals of the Golden Age, also accompanied by a catalogue. In addition, he has participated in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, both as a lender and a contributor to catalogues: (2004) Byzantium: Faith and Power; (2006) Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture; (2010) The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry; The Portrait in Renaissance Italy from Masaccio to Bellini.


Dr. Scher is a member of four visiting committees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Medieval; European Sculpture and Decorative Arts; Paper Conservation; and Object Conservation. He is also a member of the Visiting Committee for Collections at The Frick Collection.


Dr. Scher has lectured and published extensively on medieval and Renaissance art. His own collecting activities have focused on Renaissance portrait medals, of which he has possibly the largest and finest collection in the world. He is giving his collection to the Frick Collection, where there will an exhibition of a selection from the collection opening on May 9, 2017. A catalogue of the entire collection will be published in 2018.


Dr. Scher received the Yale Medal in November, 2015.