Alexandra Deutsch, Director of Collections at the Winterthur Museum

Alexandra Deutsch is the John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections at the Winterthur Museum. She leads Winterthur’s Collections and Interpretation Division. Prior to arriving at Winterthur in 2019, she was Vice-President of Collections and Interpretation and Chief Curator at the Maryland Center for History and Culture, formerly the Maryland Historical Society.

Since arriving at Winterthur, Alexandra has spearheaded a re-envisioning of the museum’s gallery building and led multiple exhibitions. Her publications include Ann Lowe, American Couturier (2023), Spectrum of Fashion (2019), Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape (2017) and Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (2016). She has written and lectured about diverse topics in American material culture throughout her career with a particular emphasis on women’s and fashion history.

Favorite place to visit in France, and why?
The Dordogne. I find the food, the ancient caves, and the light of the Dordogne sublime.

Favorite place to visit in America, and why?
New York City. The thrum of the city and the sense that anything is possible there never diminishes for me.

What do you think the French can learn from Americans?
A willingness to try anything, even if it may seem impossible.

What do you think Americans can learn from the French?
Style. To me, French style cannot be surpassed in all categories of aesthetics and design.

Favorite French film?
Babette’s Feast (1987)

Favorite American film?
Francis Ford Coppola’s Age of Innocence (1993)

Favorite French actor or actress
Juliette Binoche

Favorite American actor or actress?
Tilda Swinton

Most important French figure in history, and why?
Napoleon Bonaparte whose vision and determination forever changed France. His sheer audacity never ceases to inspire wonder in me.

Most influential American figure, and why?
Abraham Lincoln for his single-minded commitment to retaining the Union during the Civil War and for his astonishing intellect.

What is your favorite American luxury?

What is your favorite French extravagance?
French table and bed linens.

Favorite American food?
Pancakes with maple syrup.

Favorite French food?
Paté with a baguette, grainy mustard, and cornichons.

The quality you most admire about the French and Americans?
French: Their preservation of traditions.
Americans: Their determination to innovate.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The kindness and generosity I offer to my family and friends.

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to speak any language being spoken to me in the moment.

Name three people, dead or alive, who you would most like to have dinner with?
Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Anne Boleyn, and Coco Chanel—it would be a wild ride!

Relative to your field of study, what is the most important tradition to keep alive?
The constant effort to uncover new and forgotten histories through material objects.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Health for myself and my family, love of family and friends, and total creative freedom to constantly reinvent myself.

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