Thomas P. Campbell

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Thomas P. Campbell is the director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, overseeing the De Young and Legion of Honor museums. He served as the director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 2009 and 2017.[1] On 30 June 2017, Campbell stepped down as director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and accepted the Getty Foundation's Rothschild Fellowship for research and study at both the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and at Waddesdon Manor, in the UK.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Singapore and raised in Cambridge, England, where he attended The Perse School. He earned a BA in English language and literature at New College, Oxford in 1984,[2] followed by a Diploma from Christie's Fine and Decorative Arts course, London, in 1985. While studying for his master's degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1987), he discovered how much mainstream art history had overlooked the major role of tapestry in European art and propaganda. During the following years, he worked to rectify this oversight by creating the Franses Tapestry Archive in London (1987–94), which, with more than 120,000 images, is the largest and most up-to-date information resource on European tapestries and figurative textiles in the world.[3] His early research culminated in several research articles and a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1999) on the art and culture of King Henry VIII's court.


Campbell worked in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for 14 years, rising steadily through the curatorial ranks as assistant curator (1995 to 97), associate curator (1997 to 2003), and curator (2003 to December 2008). During this time, he conceived and organized the major exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York, 2007; Palacio Real, Madrid, spring 2008), both of which incorporated drawings, paintings, and prints, as well as tapestries, and received widespread acclaim. The 2002 show was named "Exhibition of the Year" by Apollo magazine, and its catalogue won the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award (College Art Association) for distinguished exhibition catalogue in the history of art (2003).[4] Beginning shortly after his arrival at the museum, he also served as supervising curator of The Antonio Ratti Textile Center, which houses the Museum's encyclopedic collection of 36,000 textiles and is one of the world's preeminent centers of textile studies.[5]

The fiscal year from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 saw the Met's highest attendance in 40 years, rising to 6.28 million.[6] During that year, the museum also opened extensive new galleries for both its Islamic and American art and launched a redesigned website that now attracts more than 44 million visits per year. The museum is currently developing plans to renovate The Costume Institute and redesign the Museum's Fifth Avenue plaza and fountains.[7] In March 2016, the Met Breuer opened: a collaboration with the Whitney Museum, in which its landmark Marcel Breuer-designed building, on Madison Avenue and 75th Street, serves as the Met's prime venue for exhibiting contemporary and modern art.[8]

Addressing both scholars and the general public, at institutions and museums in the United States and abroad, Campbell has lectured and taught on European court patronage and the relationship between tapestry and other arts. He has also published on the subject of historic European textiles with respect to other art forms of the same periods. He authored the book Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court (Yale University Press, 2007) and his articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals, such as Burlington Magazine, Apollo magazine, Studies in the Decorative Arts, and Gazette des Beaux-Arts. He has been the recipient of awards and fellowships, including the Iris Foundation Award (Bard Graduate Center) for a scholar in mid-career deserving recognition for outstanding contributions to the study of decorative arts (2003).[9]

According to the 2014 IRS form 990, filed by the Met, Thomas Campbell was compensated $950,762 "from the organization," with an additional $344,604 "in estimated amounts of other compensation from the organization and related organizations."[10] On 28 January 2017, The New York Times reported that "Thomas P. Campbell resigned under pressure on Tuesday as the director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, after months of growing concerns among staff members and some trustees about its financial health and his capacity to lead the largest museum in the country." [11] The article stated that "Mr. Campbell’s financial decisions and expansion plans had been criticized by some trustees, curators and other staff members".[11]

On 30 June 2017, Campbell ended his tenure as director at the Metropolitan Museum. Robin Pogrebin at the New York Times reported on 27 July 2017: "Thomas P. Campbell, who last month ended his tumultuous tenure as chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been chosen as the second recipient of the Getty Rothschild Fellowship, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Rothschild Foundation announced on Thursday. The fellowship supports scholarship in art history, collecting and conservation, offering art historians, museum professionals or conservators up to eight months of research and study at the Getty in Los Angeles and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England."[12]

Since 1 November 2018, Campbell serves as the Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in California.

Personal life[edit]

Campbell is married and lives in San Francisco. He and his wife Phoebe have a son and daughter.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Thomas P. Campbell Receives Second Getty Rothschild Fellowship | News From The Getty". 27 July 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  2. ^ "North American Reunion". New College, Oxford. 2012. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  3. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Curator at Met Named Director of the Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award". College Art Association. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Introduction to Antonio Ratti Textile Center". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  6. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Metropolitan Museum of Art Draws Record Number of Visitors". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Plaza Renovation Project". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  8. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Met Plans to Occupy the Whitney's Uptown Site". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Iris Foundation Award Recipients" (PDF). Bard Graduate Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Form 990" (PDF).
  11. ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin (28 February 2017). "Metropolitan Museum's Director Resigns Under Pressure". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  12. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (27 July 2017). "Thomas P. Campbell, Former Met Chief Executive, Gets Fellowship". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  13. ^ Murg, Stephanie. "Thomas Campbell Named Next Director of Metropolitan Museum of Art". Media Bistro. Archived from the original on 18 September 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2013.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Philippe de Montebello
Metropolitan Museum of Art by Simon Fieldhouse.jpg
Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Succeeded by
Max Hollein