If you live in the Philadelphia area, or are an art aficionado, you are undoubtedly reeling like I at the sudden death of Anne d'Harnoncourt of the Philadelphia Museum of Art...she made that meuseum what we know it as today...if I may be so bold, she rescued it from doom and boredom.
It is really sad when fabulous Philadelphians like this die....sigh...if Anne d'Harnoncourt had been at the helm of the Barnes, that b.s. dilemma probably would never have occured, eh? Anne had style and smarts and a big Julia Child laugh (some newscaster on KYW 1060 described her thusly today) - of course not one local T.V. reporter could properly pronouce her name...but then again half of them can't speak standard English and talk with their hands to the television audience like they are directing traffic....sweet dreams Anne...I didn't know you personally, but thought you were a class act.
Anne d’Harnoncourt, art museum director, dies at 64
By Peter Dobrin
INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
Anne d'Harnoncourt, 64, the formidable, high-spirited personification of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and an indefatigable advocate for the arts as central to the city's identity, died Sunday night.
She died at her Center City home of an apparent stroke after a surgical procedure, said Art Museum chairman H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest.
"It's a shock and it's very sad. It's unimaginable - the museum world without her," said Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a friend and colleague for decades. "There's no question that she was one of the very few people at the very summit to whom all museum directors and curators would look up and consult. She was a very big influence on the international museum group that meets every year. She was just someone who made a difference wherever she went."
In Philadelphia, she made a very big difference. Twinning partnership skills with the aristocratic Robert Montgomery Scott, the pair took a slouching institution with aged facilities and questionable relevance and parlayed it into one of the most vital comprehensive art museums in the country.
"She was our de facto cultural leader, our rock," said Gov. Rendell...She was largely responsible for launching the city's modern concept of cultural tourism with a blockbuster 1996 Cezanne retrospective that drew nearly 800,000 viewers...A tall, handsome woman with a vocal range somewhere in the viola range, Miss d'Harnoncourt was born Sept. 7, 1943 in Washington D.C., a scion of an illustrious arts family that included a cousin from the Austrian side of the family, famed conductor Nikolas Harnoncourt, whom she called "Cousin Niky." She grew up an only child up in Manhattan, where her father, René d'Harnoncourt, a painter and expert in an expert on both Mexican and American Indian, was director the Museum of Modern Art.
She attended the exclusive Brearley School, and at Radcliffe...During her tenure, her staff produced major retrospectives on Brancusi, Barnett Newman and Dalí, as well as surveys on the Pennsylvania Germans and 18th century Rome....Donations in her memory may be made to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, Pa., 19101-7646.
You know, if she dieddue to surgical complications, what hospital was she treated at? Also, the volunteer committees are a tad dysfunctional at PMA, but that woman made you forget all about it...what a tremendous loss.....
Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dies Unexpectedly at 64
Published: June 2, 2008