||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (June 2011)|
September 7, 1943|
Washington, DC, US
|Died||June 1, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Cause of death
|Title||George D. Widener Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art|
|Predecessor||Jean Sutherland Boggs|
|Parents||René d'Harnoncourt and Sarah Carr|
Anne d'Harnoncourt (September 7, 1943 – June 1, 2008) was an American museum director and historian of modern art. She was the Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a post she held from 1982 until her sudden and unexpected death in 2008. She was an expert on the works of Marcel Duchamp, who had been an acquaintance of her father René d'Harnoncourt, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was a cousin of the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. She is survived by her husband, Joseph Rishel, a senior curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Early life and career
Anne Julie d’Harnoncourt was born on September 7, 1943 in Washington, D.C. The only child of René d'Harnoncourt and his wife Sarah (née Carr), she was of Austrian, Czech, and French descent. Anne attended The Brearley School in New York City from 1949–1961. She continued her studies at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA where she majored in History and Literature of Europe and England since 1740, with additional course work in the history of architecture. Her B.A. thesis compared the poetry of Shelley and Hölderlin. She graduated magna cum laude in 1965.
Anne’s first museum experience was at the Tate Gallery, London where she worked for six months as part of an MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, preparing full catalog entries on 30 Pre-Raphaelite paintings and drawings in the collection in 1966-67. She then came to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture from 1967 through 1969. In 1969 she was hired as Assistant Curator of Twentieth-Century Art by the Art Institute of Chicago, a position she held until 1971.
Curatorship of Twentieth-Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum
Anne returned to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1972. For a decade between 1972 and 1982, she served as Curator of Twentieth-Century Art. A specialist in the art of Marcel Duchamp, in 1973 she co-organized a major retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work which originated in Philadelphia and traveled to the Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. Other exhibitions organized or co-organized by Anne included Futurism and the International Avant-Garde (1980), Violet Oakley (1979), Eight Artists (1978) and John Cage: Scores & Prints (1982). During her tenure as curator, she reinstalled the permanent galleries in the wing of the Museum devoted to 20th-century art, creating rooms specifically dedicated to the work of Marcel Duchamp and the sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. Under her curatorship, the Museum made the commitment to substantially build their contemporary collection, acquiring important works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Elizabeth Murray, Claes Oldenburg, Katherine Anne Porter, Dorothea Rockburne, James Rosenquist, and Frank Stella among others.
Directorship of the Philadelphia Museum
An internationally respected art historian and museum leader, Anne served as Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1982, and as both Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Museum since 1997. As Director, d’Harnoncourt fostered the growth and distinction of the Museum’s professional staff, and encouraged a sequence of major exhibitions and publications by Museum curators and scholars. Among these are the retrospectives Brâncuși (1995), Cézanne (1996), Hon’ami Koetsu (2000), Barnett Newman (2002), and Salvador Dalí (2005) and surveys on topics ranging from Pennsylvania Germans: A Celebration of Their Arts (1983) to Japanese Design (1994), The Splendor of Eighteenth-Century Rome (2000) to Tesoros: The Arts in Latin America 1492–1820 (2006).
Each exhibition was accompanied by a groundbreaking catalog, while other Museum publications under her leadership have included British Paintings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1986), Handbook of the Collections (1995), Gifts in Honor of the Museum’s 125th Anniversary (2002), and Italian Paintings 1250–1450 (2004).
Between 1992 and 1995, in a massive building project undertaken to reinstall all of the Museum’s European collections, over 90 galleries were renovated and relit, while thousands of works of art were examined, conserved and placed in fresh contexts. Twenty galleries for modern and contemporary art were renovated and reopened in the fall of 2000.
As part of the Long Range Plan, and in celebration of the Museum’s 125th anniversary year, a capital campaign with a goal of $200 million was formally launched in December 2000. Over $246 million was raised by the end of the campaign. In the same year, the Museum acquired a landmark building across the street and embarked on a comprehensive master plan for its use and the additional steps necessary to meet the Museum’s 25-year requirements for new or renovated space. The renovated structure, now named the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, opened in September 2007. It houses greatly expanded, state-of-the-art facilities for the Museum's collections of prints, drawings, and photographs, costumes and textiles, modern and contemporary design, and Library and Archives.
The Gross Clinic
In 2006, Anne d’Harnoncourt brought art lovers from the around the world together as she worked tirelessly to ensure that Thomas Eakins's masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, was not sold and taken away from its longtime place in Philadelphia.
Service on boards and committees
- Regent of the Smithsonian Institution
- Board of Directors, The Henry Luce Foundation
- Board of Directors, The Japan Society
- Board of Directors, The Fabric Workshop and Museum
- Board of Trustees, Fairmount Park Art Association
- Board of Trustees, The Philadelphia Award
- Board of Directors, The John Cage Trust
- Board of Directors, ARTstor
- Museum Panel, National Endowment for the Arts
- Visual Arts Panel, National Endowment for the Arts
- Board of Trustees, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Board of Trustees, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
- Indo/U.S. Sub-commission on Education and Culture
- Harvard University Art Museums Visiting Committee
- National Endowment for the Arts Indemnity Panel
- Board of Advisors, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
- Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
- Visiting Committee, J. Paul Getty Museum
- Captain Jonathan Fay Prize, Radcliffe College, 1965
- Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Republic of France, 1995
- Philadelphia Award, 1997
- Founders Award for Exemplary Service to History, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2001
- Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Republic of France 2002
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Princeton University, 2005
- Order of the Aztec Eagle, Republic of Mexico, 2007
|This section requires expansion. (June 2011)|
- Entry in the Dictionary of Art historians
- Dinitia Smith, "Anne d'Harnoncourt, A Master of the Graceful Sidestep". New York Times, May 30, 2006. Accessed 13 January 2008.
- Philadelphia Museum Chief Dies. The New York Times, 2 June 2008. Accessed 2 June 2008.
Jean Sutherland Boggs
|The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer
of the Philadelphia Museum of Art