Published: June 18, 2002
LONDON – The Courtauld Institute of Art announces that, following the retirement of Professor Eric Fernie at the end of the year, the new director will be Professor James Cuno, professor of history of art and architecture, Harvard University, and director of the Harvard University Art Museums.
Professor Cuno, a specialist in Nineteenth Century French art and currently president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, will take up his new post on January 6, 2003. Professor Eric Fernie, CBE, has been director of the Courtauld Institute of Art since 1995 and will now become a senior research Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.
“I very much look forward to the challenges that lie ahead,” said Cuno. “The chance to work with new colleagues in charting the future course for the Courtauld as an independent College of the University of London is very exciting. I will miss my colleagues and the collections of the Art Museums and I am deeply indebted to their friendship and professionalism. This was by no means an easy decision but the directorship of the Courtauld was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
Nicholas Ferguson, chairman of the new Board of Governors of the Courtauld Institute of Art, commented, “We are delighted that James Cuno has accepted this post. He is ideally suited to take the Courtauld forward to meet the challenges of its new status as an independent college as well as further strengthening its position in the world of art history.”
Founded in 1932 and housed since 1989 in Somerset House, one of the grandest and most famous Neo-classical buildings in London, the Courtauld Institute of Art is one of the world’s leading centers for teaching and research in the history and conservation of Western art. Its galleries, originally designed to house the Royal Academy and other learned institutions, now display the institute’s world-renowned collection of paintings and drawings from the Samuel Courtauld, Gambier-Parry, Lee, Princes Gate and other collections.
The institute also includes the Sir Robert Witt and Lord Conway photographic libraries comprising almost two million photographs of works of art by more than 75,000 artists and over one million photographs and images of architecture, sculpture and medieval painting, respectively; as well as a library of almost 150,000 volumes.
The Courtauld has a teaching staff of 30 who, between them, cover the arts and architecture of the Western world from antiquity to the present day, as well as the conservation of easel and wall paintings. Some 400 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Courtauld; approximately one-third are undergraduates, one-third are taking postgraduate courses and one-third are engaged in research at the PhD level.
In 2001, the Courtauld received the highest ranking of all art history faculties in the Research Assessment Exercise carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. From August 1, the Courtauld Institute of Art will become an independent College of the University of London subject to the final approval of the Council in July.
James Cuno (born in St Louis in 1951) has served as Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums and professor of history of art and architecture at Harvard since 1991.
Under his directorship, the Harvard University Art Museums have doubled in staff size and budget and have organized numerous national and international touring exhibitions including, among many others, “Mondrian: The Transatlantic Paintings” (2001), “‘You Look Beautiful Like That’: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé” (2001), “Latin American Geometric Abstraction: Selections from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection” (2001), “Ben Shahn’s New York: The Photography of Modern Times” (2000), “Ellsworth Kelly: The Early Drawings, 1948-1955” (with the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 1999), “Brice Marden Work Books” (with Kunstmuseum Winterthur and Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, 1998), “Fuseli to Menzel: Drawings and Watercolors in the Age of Goethe” (1998), “Gods, Kings and Tigers: The Art of Kotah” (with Asia Society, 1997), “Tiepolo and His Circle: Drawings in American Collections” (with Pierpont Morgan Library, 1996), “The Fire of Hephaistos: Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections” (1996), “Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400” (1995), and “Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection” (1992).
Major acquisitions to the Art Museums’ collections under his directorship include the Maida and George Abrams collection of Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings, the Stuart Cary Welch collection of Indian and Islamic paintings and drawings, the Henderson Collection of Korean Ceramics, the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, the Lois Orswell Collection of modern painting, sculpture and drawings, the world’s largest collections of multiples by the post-war German artist Joseph Beuys, and important paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Georg Baselitz and Agnes Martin; sculptures by David Smith, Ellsworth Kelly and Kiki Smith; and drawings by Brice Marden, Jasper Johns, Sol Lewitt and Richard Serra.
In addition, the Art Museums successfully concluded their largest capital campaign ever, raising $55 million, or 50 percent over an original goal of $37 million. This resulted in endowed curatorships in Ancient Art, Chinese Art, Islamic and Later Indian Art, Modern Art, and Photographs, as well as the renovation and expansion of the Art Museums’ Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies.
Recently founded is a Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art and the Harvard Program for Art Museum Directors. At present the Art Museums are working with the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano on a renovation of the Fogg Art Museum and a master plan for the Art Museums.
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