The Philadelphia Museum of Art announces the establishment of the Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curatorship of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, in recognition of the Helfands' gift of $1,200,000 towards endowment of the position. Innis Howe Shoemaker, who has headed the Museum's distinguished department for over a decade, will assume the new title. The Helfand's gift enables the Museum to receive $500,000 in matching funds from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which in 1996 awarded the Museum a $1,000,000 challenge grant to endow two senior curatorial positions.
"Bill and Audrey Helfand have been unstinting in their support of the Museum, both by sharing the benefits of their extensive knowledge of art and their own scholarship, making important gifts to the collections, and contributing so generously to theendowment. We are delighted to have this opportunity to thank them, and to highlight their involvement with the Museum's Ars Medica Collection, which has so greatly benefited from their interest over the years. Currently comprised of over 2,500 prints, drawings, photographs and rare books housed in the Print Department, the collection offers a remarkable view of the complex interrelationships between the worlds of medicine, pharmacy, public health and the visual arts," notes Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Mrs. Helfand holds an advanced degree from the Ecole du Louvre, Paris, in the history of art and architecture. From 1975 to 1979 she was associated with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, as a research assistant and bilingual lecturer. In 1981 she formed a fine arts consultancy advising on the acquisition, sale and dispersal of paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture. With interests in mid-19th century American and British portraits, she has most recently focused on building a collection of works that are contemporary to the development of photography. She has served, until recently, as a member of the Bucks County Historic Commission and a board member of the Doylestown Regional Library System.
William H. Helfand holds degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. Retired from Merck and Company where he served as a senior executive for more than 33 years, he is now a consultant to several institutions in areas relating to art and medicine. He has written five books including Pharmacy: An Illustrated History (with David Cowen) and contributed entries to The Picture of Health, a catalogue published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1991, as well as numerous articles on the history of pharmacy and ars medica. The recipient of numerous honors, Mr. Helfand was awarded the degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters by the Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University, in 1981, and Doctor of Science by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1976. Mr. Helfand has served as a member of the Museum's Committee on Prints, Drawings and Photographs since 1967, the year of its inception.
Innis Howe Shoemaker holds an A.B. from Vassar College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. From 1971 to 1973, she studied at the American Academy in Rome, as the Rome Prize Fellow in the History of Art. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Dr. Shoemaker was adjunct professor in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and director of the university's Ackland Art Museum. Since her appointment in 1986 as Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she has overseen a wide range of exhibitions and installations, including Paul Cézanne: Two Sketchbooks (Dr. Shoemaker was also the co-author of the 1989 exhibition catalogue) and The Picture of Health: Images of Medicine and Pharmacy from the William H. Helfand Collection (1991). She has contributed an essay to The Drawings of Filippino Lippi and his Circle, the catalogue accompanying an exhibition that opens in October 1997 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and is currently organizing the exhibition Earl Horter: A Modernist's Collection Lost and Found, scheduled to be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art during Spring 1999. During her tenure as head of the Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, the Museum has made many important acquisitions of works of art on paper, ranging from an exquisite early drawing by the English Pre-Raphaelite Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, to large and significant groups of photographs by Joseph Sudek, Robert Adams and Harry Callahan and a wide variety of contemporary works in all mediums. The Department is nationally recognized for the breadth of its collections, the scholarship and flair of its exhibitions and the quality of its internship program which trains young art historians in the Museum profession.