Published: July 9, 2002
PHILADELPHIA, PENN. – Anne d’Harnoncourt, director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has announced that Darrel Sewell, the museum’s eminent Robert L. McNeil, Jr, curator of American Art, will retire on October 1 after a tenure of almost 30 years. Kathleen Adair Foster, currently the curator of Western Art after 1800 at Indiana University Art Museum, will succeed him.
“Darrel Sewell has overseen a remarkable era of growth in the presence of American art at the museum,” Ms d’Harnoncourt said. “He arrived in 1973, the year when the Department of American Art was founded, to become its first curator. His contributions to the entire field have ranged from ‘Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art,’ the astonishing, encyclopedic exhibition that he organized in 1976 in celebration of the Bicentennial and the reinstallation of the American Wing in 1977, to the remarkable ‘Henry Ossawa Tanner’ exhibition in 1991.
“Most recently,” she continued, “he has masterminded the formidable retrospective ‘Thomas Eakins: American Realist’ that opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last fall, traveled to the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and is currently on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has made many stellar acquisitions, including major works by Washington Allston, William Rush and John Singleton Copley, the Cadwalader Collection of paintings by Charles Willson Peale, a rare complete interior by Wharton Esherick from the music room of the Curtis Bok House and a fine group of Twentieth Century American crafts.”
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