A number of talented people have cureated the AUP Fine Arts Gallery over the years, from which two individuals stand out: Professor Ralph Petty, founder and first curator of the gallery, and Professor Jonathan Shimony, current curator of the gallery. 

Prof. Jonathan Shimony

Jonathan Shimony graduated from Harvard University’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies with highest honors in 1987. He later studied in Japan at the Tokyo School of Art and again in the US at the Massachusetts College of Art. In 1994, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to France to be an artist in residence at the Ecole Duperré (National School of Applied Arts). He has lived in Paris ever since.

Shimony has been a Professor of Fine Arts at The American University of Paris since 2007. Among other classes, he teaches Materials and Techniques of the Masters, which has long been a fine arts staple at AUP; the class combines a practical emphasis on artistic technique with an understanding of the underlying chemistry of the materials used in artistic processes. Students mix their own materials and learn to deploy them appropriately, developing a deeper appreciation for how the materials used by the masters were mixed and manipulated.

In 2015, Shimony was appointed as the successor to Professor Ralph Petty in the position of Curator of the AUP Fine Arts Gallery, a role that sees him also managing the University’s permanent art collection. His work has been exhibited widely in Tokyo, Shanghai, Rome and Paris – as well as at the Venice Biennale.

Prof. Emeritus Ralph Petty

Ralph Petty came to Paris from the US in 1976 to work in Stanley William Hayter’s etching studio, Atelier 17, and has remained in France ever since. Before joining AUP, he taught fine arts in Paris at both Parsons School of Design and L’Institut d’etudes politiques. He was a Professor of Fine Arts at AUP for 25 years.

In 2004, he founded the AUP Fine Arts Gallery and became its first curator. During his tenure, he played a key role in establishing a fine arts major. He also set up the University's permanent collection, which consists of artwork from students, faculty and former exhibitors of the Fine Arts Gallery. Petty himself contributed a sculpture, entitled Listening, to the collection for the University’s 50th anniversary; the work is currently on display in the courtyard of the AMEX Café.

In 2019, Petty returned to AUP to exhibit in the Fine Arts Gallery he helped found. His exhibition, Orage Électrique, took its name from the French term for an uncontrollable ventricular tachycardia – a medical condition with which Petty himself has struggled.