Philadelphia, PA, April 25, 2002 – The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today that it has been awarded two grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: a $2.5 million leadership challenge grant in support of publishing scholarly books related to its collections and exhibitions, to be matched one-to-one by new funds raised by the Museum within the next three years, and a $280,000 grant to continue The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellowships, which enable young art historians to build upon their scholarship and prepare for curatorial positions by coming in direct contact with works of art and top curators in their fields.
"We’re thrilled by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s support of our publishing program and these Curatorial Fellowships, which contribute greatly to our ability to achieve our goals," said Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Museum. "The Mellon Foundation has been so very supportive of the Museum over the years, and has been a remarkable, positive force for advancing the goals of art museums across the United States. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we endeavor year after year to publish new and insightful scholarship on works of art in our collections or in exhibitions organized by our curators, and to give young scholars the direct experience of working with objects to make a lasting impact in their chosen area of specialization. These latest Mellon Foundation grants fortify our efforts in core aspects of the Museum’s mission."
The publications grant comes to strengthen an earlier endowment for this purpose, awarded to the Museum by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1984. Sherry Babbitt, Director of Publishing at the Museum noted: "By providing such critical support for the extensive research, editorial, and production components that have long distinguished the Museum’s scholarly publications, The Mellon Foundation’s commitment, once again, helps us to ensure the continued excellence and development of our program of producing books that explore our splendid collections in depth."
The Museum’s program of publishing the results of research on its collections, major exhibitions, and conservation findings dates to its founding in 1876. The Museum publishes some six to eight books per year on subjects ranging from painting and sculpture, works on paper, and decorative arts to architectural settings from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Among the Museum’s recent titles are Barnett Newman (edited by Ann Temkin, March 2002), which explores the major Abstract Expressionist artist’s place in and influence upon 20th-century art; Thomas Eakins, a monumental volume devoted to one of the great American artists to emerge in the aftermath of the Civil War (edited by Darrel Sewell, October 2001); and The Arts of Hon’ami Koetsu: Japanese Renaissance Master, the first English language publication on the artist who revolutionized the arts of Japan in the 17th century (by Felice Fischer, July 2000). Among the forthcoming books is an extensive, thoroughly illustrated catalogue by Carl Brandon Strehlke of early Italian paintings in the John G. Johnson Collection at the Museum. The Publishing Department also works with Museum curators to produce periodic Bulletins that highlight aspects of the collections, among them Japanese Buddhist Art (Winter 1991), Recognizing Van Eyck (Spring 1998) and The Etching Club of London: Prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (forthcoming).
The Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowship Program, launched by The Mellon Foundation in 1996, is a highly competitive two- to three-year program in major art museums across the United States that invites post-doctoral scholars to pursue research, cataloguing, and documentation of collections. The new grant to the Museum provides support for two Mellon Fellowships. The first of these is expected to be filled in Fall 2002.
Mellon Fellows collaborate with Museum curators and conservators on an interdisciplinary approach to studying the collections. While organizing exhibitions, examining and selecting objects, writing wall text and essays, overseeing installation, and giving gallery talks and lectures, Mellon Fellows concurrently develop an understanding of mediums and techniques, condition, treatment options, and preservation issues. The scholars also work closely with education staff to interpret and present works of art to a wide audience. Two Mellon Fellowships were awarded in the first phase of the program. Pierre Terjanian, Mellon Fellow in Arms and Armor from 1997 to 2000, focused on provenance research into the Carl Otto von Kienbusch Collection of Arms and Armor and oversaw a reinstallation of its galleries. Andrea Fredericksen, Mellon Fellow in Prints Drawings and Photographs from 1999 to 2002, organized The Plot Thickens: Narrative in British Printmaking, 1700-1900, an exhibition on view at the Museum through June 23, 2002. Focusing on the British prints within the Berman Gift of Old Master Prints, Ms. Fredericksen studied and catalogued over 3,000 works of art, making significant contributions to print scholarship.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has supported the core mission of the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1981, when it offered the Museum a grant to endow its first post-graduate fellowship in conservation. In May 2001, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Museum a $1.9 million challenge grant to endow an existing senior conservation position and a new senior- level scientist position in the Department of Conservation. That grant also enabled the Museum to purchase two critical analytical instruments enhancing the staff’s ability to authenticate and date works of art with far greater precision, as well as to understand the mechanisms by which art materials change over time.