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New Endowed Curatorships at Met


The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the creation of two new endowed curatorships in the field of American art, one ofthem funded by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony W. Wang of New York City, and the other by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

Mr. and Mrs. Wang have provided a $2.5 million grant to The Fund for the Met Campaign to endow a curator in perpetuity in the Department of American Decorative Arts, to be named The Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curatorship. Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan, announced that the first person to hold this position will be Morrison H. Heckscher, who has served as a curator in the department since 1978.

"We are extremely gratefur to the Wangs for their generosity to our Fund for the Met campaign, which strives to build support not only for capital projects at the Museum, but for education and curatorial affairs as well. This is just such a gift, and it will help enormously to support our efforts in the important field of decorative arts." Mr. Heckscher's appointment was ratified by the Museum' s Board of Trustees on September 8, 1998

The Wangs, who have been involved with the Department of American Decorative Arts since 1995, are members of the Chairman's Council and of the William Cullen Bryant Fellows of The American Wing. They have assisted in the purchase of several important pieces of American furniture for the Museum, and Mr. Wang serves on the department's Visiting Committee.

Mr. Heckscher, a noted expert on 18th-century American furniture and architecture, and the author of the 1985 catalogue of the Museum's late-colonial furniture collection, mounted the major exhibition American Rococo, 1750-1775: Elegance in Ornament (the catalogue co-authored with Leslie Greene Bowman) in 1992. In 1993, he wrote an architectural history of the Museum - and mounted an exhibition, The Architecture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1870-1995 - to celebrate the Metropolitan's 125th anniversary. He also was curator of the recent exhibition American Furniture and the Art of Connoisseurship, which was on view at the Metropolitan Museum through October 4, 1998.

Commenting on the endowment, Mr. Heckscher stated: "It is a great honor to be the first Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan, and to be associated with a pair of passionate and discerning collectors who know how to enjoy life and art to the full, and who understand the depth of support necessary to assure the Metropolitan's long-term preeminence."

Brown Foundation Grant

In memory of one of its founders - Alice Pratt Brown - the Brown Foundation has provided a $2 million grant to The Fund for the Met Campaign to endow in perpetuity a curator in the Department of American Paintings and Sculpture and to provide the funding necessary to develop an electronic database of the department's holdings.

Mr. de Montebello commented: "The Brown Foundation's generous grant is in full keeping with its historic mission of providing vital encouragement to education and the arts, and
is a tribute to a woman who pursued this goal throughout her lifetime. We are deeply grateful for this important support."

The first Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture will be H. Barbara Weinberg, an internationally renowned scholar and author of numerous articles and several ground-breaking books on American art, including The Decorative Work ofJohn La Farge (1977) and The Lure of Paris: Nineteenth-Century American Painters and Their French Teachers (1991).

Formerly Professor of Art History in The City University of New York, Dr. Weinberg joined the Metropolitan in 1990. Since then she has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions at the Museum, including American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modem Life, 1885-1915, which was accompanied by a Museum Bulletin Images of Women: Nineteenth-Century American Drawings and Watercolors; and John La Farge in the Metropoltan Museum of Art. Ms. Weinberg was also responsible for mounting the exhibition Winslow Homer, which opened at the Metropolitan in 1996. Currentfy she is the curator, along with Elliot Bostwick Davis, of Mary Cassatt: Drawings and Prints in th e Metropolitan Museum of Art, on view from October 20, 1998, through January 24, 1999. Dr. Weinberg was elected to her endowed chair by the Board of Trustees on June 9, 1998.

"...with this munificent gift its long-standing commitment to art and to education, and that the Metropolitan, The American Wing, and our large and varied audience will be the grateful beneficiaries."

Noted Dr. Weinberg: "I shall hope to honor the memory ofAlice Pratt Brown by continuing to pursue the most distinguished standards of scholarship. It is heartening and invigorating to know that The Brown Foundation has again demonstrated with this munificent gift its long-standing commitment to art and to education, and that the Metropolitan, The American Wing, and our large and varied audience will be the grateful beneficiaries." The Brown Foundation grant will also support the equipment and digitizing expenses of transferring The American Wing's object records from card catalogue to the Museum-wide, computerized text and image database, the Collections Management System. When complete, this system will facilitate the transmittal of information and images throughout the Museum and, eventually, around the world, significantly enhancing the Metropolitan's ability to fulfill its mission of education and outreach.

Read more about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

rev. 11/22/10

This page was originally published 10/14/98 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 11/28/11

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