Mariët Westermann

Vice Chancellor, NYU Abu Dhabi

Mariët Westermann joined NYU Abu Dhabi as vice chancellor in August 2019. She was also appointed a professor of arts and humanities. Westermann oversees all academic, administrative, and operational affairs at NYU Abu Dhabi. Previously, she worked at the Mellon Foundation since 2010, serving as the executive vice president for programs and research since 2016. In that role, she launched initiatives that study and promote the value of the humanities and liberal arts, strengthen community colleges, encourage graduate education reform, renew preservation of cultural heritage around the world, and support scholars and artists at risk. Prior to the Mellon Foundation, she was on the faculty at NYU, first as director of the Institute of Fine Arts and then as the first provost of NYU Abu Dhabi. Before joining NYU in 2002, she was associate director of research at the Clark Art Institute. From 1995 to 2001, she was an assistant and associate professor of art history at Rutgers University.

Westermann’s principal interest is the art of the Netherlands, her native country. She is widely published in the field, including A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic 1585–1718 (1996); The Amusements of Jan Steen: Comic Painting in the 17th Century (1997); Rembrandt – Art and Ideas (2000); and numerous articles. She has edited five books, including Anthropologies of Art (2005). Her extensive work with museums includes her Rijksmuseum Dossier: Johannes Vermeer (2004); the curatorship of Art and Home: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt (Denver Art Museum and Newark Museum, 2001); and numerous exhibition catalog essays. She is currently preparing an exhibition and book on the resonance of the Garden of Eden in the history, theology, and art of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with significant implications for garden practice in these cultures.

She has been the recipient of fellowships, honors, and grants from a wide range of organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Clark Art Institute, College Art Association, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Westermann received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Williams College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her masters and PhD from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. She serves on the boards of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones and the Scholar Rescue Fund.