Franklin Kelly is an art historian specialising in eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth-century American and British painting. He is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and a Distinguished Affiliate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has authored books, articles and essays on a wide range of artists, including William Blake, John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, John Singleton Copley, William Sidney Mount, Asher B. Durand, Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, and Jackson Pollock.
At The National Gallery of Art, Washington he was curator for 'Frederic Edwin Church, (1989-90); Twentieth Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection (2000), and co-organiser of the exhibition Hudson River School Visions: The Landscapes of Sanford R. Gifford, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (2003-2004). He co-organised exhibitions, Constable’s Great Landscapes: The Six-Foot Paintings, Tate Britain, London, The National Gallery of Art Washington, Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, California (2005-2006) and Edward Hopper and J.M.W. Turner, The National Gallery of Art, Washington' (2007-2008).
Kelly has lectured extensively at museums and universities in America and abroad, and has also held curatorial appointments at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.