James S. Snyder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about a director and historian. For other people named James Snyder, see James Snyder (disambiguation).
James S. Snyder
James S Snyder.jpg
Born 1952 (age 62–63)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jew
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Director and historian
Religion Judaism

James S. Snyder (born 1952) is an American director and historian.


Snyder is a graduate of Harvard University and a Loeb Fellow of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He is married to Tina Davis Snyder, a graphic designer, and they have two children: a daughter, Lily Snyder Bernstein, Private Client Group, Sotheby's, New York; and a son, Daniel D. Snyder, a producer and feature writer for New Mexico-based Outside Magazine.[1]

Museum career[edit]

From 1986 to 1996, Snyder served as deputy director of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. During his tenure, he oversaw the museum’s $60-million, 350,000-square-foot expansion, which was completed in 1984. He also had significant organizational responsibility for such major international loan exhibitions as Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective (1980) and the Henri Matisse: A Retrospective (1992).

Snyder has been the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum since 1996. On his first visit to the Israel Museum, he was stunned by the power of the Museum’s site, setting, and architecture, and the breadth of its collection.[2]

During his controversial tenure, the Museum has strengthened its international presence with a series of important loan exhibitions in Jerusalem and traveling exhibitions worldwide; continued to expand its holdings across all of its collecting areas; developed its network of International Friends organizations, now operating in sixteen countries worldwide; launched an aggressive campaign to double its endowment to $150 million; and undergone a series of upgrades and enhancements.

In 2011, Snyder oversaw the completion of a comprehensive over budget $100-million project to unify and enhance the facilities throughout the Museum's campus, the most comprehensive capital undertaking since the founding of the Museum in 1965.[3] During his tenure, Snyder has been responsible for the overall direction of the Museum’s curatorial program, organized major international loan exhibitions, and traveled extensively worldwide on the Museum's behalf.

Under Snyder's direction, the museum has made important acquisitions, among them the Beth Shean Venus (3rd Century CE); the First Nuremberg Haggadah, Germany (ca. 1449); Nicolas Poussin’s Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem (1625); Rembrandt van Rijn’s St. Peter in Prison (1631); Jackson Pollock’s Horizontal Composition (1949); the Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art; and Olafur Eliasson’s Your Activity Horizon (2004). A major collection of European and American photography assembled by long-time museum patrons Noel and Harriette Levine of New York was donated to the Museum in 2010.

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2006, Snyder was awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) of the Republic of Italy. In 2010, he received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) of the French Republic. And in 2012, he was made an Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem, an honor first awarded to Israel's first President Chaim Weizmann.[4]

Published works[edit]

Snyder co-authored Museum Design: Planning and Building for Art (Oxford University Press) in 1993; and he authored the book Renewed: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Campus Renewal Project (Israel Museum, Jerusalem) in 2011.


External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Martin Weyl
Director of the Israel Museum