Elaine Stainton completed her undergraduate work at Indiana University, then studied classical archaeology at the University of Maryland, where she received a master’s degree in this field in 1972. She worked in the department of Greek and Roman Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, before continuing her studies in archaeology at Princeton University. While at Princeton she studied both classical archaeology and Renaissance and Baroque art, eventually completing her doctoral work in Renaissance painting. She received her Ph.D. in Art and Archaeology in 1978, with a dissertation on the Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto.
In 1975, Elaine joined the faculty of the University of Delaware, where she taught art history and archaeology for four years before moving to New York in 1979 to work at the auction house of Sotheby Parke Bernet. Since that time she has lived in New York and has worked for several art firms, including Sotheby’s, Richard Feigen Gallery, P. & D. Colnaghi, and Doyle, where she was Director of the Paintings and Drawings Department from 1984-1993.
In 1993, she formed her own company, Stainton Associates, specializing in fine arts research and appraisal. In 1994 she was appointed senior editor at Harry N. Abrams, Inc., a publishing house known for its fine illustrated books, where she edited a number of distinguished art titles. The same year, she also began to teach art history and connoisseurship at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, where she remained on the faculty for twelve years.
In 2006 Elaine returned to Doyle as the Executive Director of the Paintings and Drawings Department. As such she is responsible for the appraisal and auction of important paintings and drawings in the fields of European old master paintings and drawings, European and American 19th century art, and European and American Modern and Contemporary art. She has appeared as an appraiser of paintings on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow and has also been featured as a speaker at a number of professional conferences in the fields of fine art connoisseurship and appraisal.