Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director.

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James H. Chillman, Jr., first Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was born in Philadelphia on December 24, 1891. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, with concentrations in architecture and drawing. In 1916 he joined the Faculty of Rice University in Houston and was later appointed a Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome (1919-1922). He served as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 1924 to 1953 and as Interim Director from 1959 to 1960. Chillman placed emphasis on the role of the art museum as a civic institution and was dedicated to the widespread integration of art into public life. He died on May 13, 1972.

From the description of James H. Chillman, Jr. correspondence and miscellaneous subjects, 1924-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122492176

Philippe de Montebello was raised in Southern France and educated at Harvard and New York University. He became Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in September 1969, formerly having been Associate Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Under his direction the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston expanded its collections, placing emphasis on the acquisition of antiquities and masterpieces of European painting and drawing. De Montebello remained Director until December 1973.

From the description of Philippe de Montebello subject files, 1969-1974. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122632880

Art museum director, educator, and patron of the arts, James Johnson Sweeney was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 30, 1900 and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and the Sorbonne. He was Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (1945-46) and subsequently Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1952-1960), prior to the commencement of his tenure as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 1961. A determined advocate of modern art, Sweeney organized major exhibitions and authored books, essays, reviews, and articles which fostered greater interest in twentieth-century art among the American public. He died on April 14, 1986.

From the description of James Johnson Sweeney subject files, 1961-1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122349008

James H. Chillman, Jr., first Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was born in Philadelphia on December 24, 1891. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, with concentrations in architecture and drawing. In 1916 he joined the Faculty of Rice University in Houston and was later appointed a Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome (1919-1922). He served as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 1924 to 1953 and as Interim Director from 1959 to 1960. Chillman placed emphasis on the role of the Museum as a civic institution and was dedicated to the widespread integration of art into public life. He died on May 13, 1972.

From the description of James H. Chillman, Jr. bequests and special funds, 1923-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122419002

Peter C. Marzio has been Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since 1982, the longest tenure of the museum's full-time directors.

From the description of Peter C. Marzio, subject files, 1982-1999. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123530624

Art museum director, educator, and patron of the arts, James Johnson Sweeney was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 30, 1900 and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and at the Sorbonne. He was Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (1945-1946) and subsequently Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1952-1960) prior to the commencement of his tenure as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1961. A determined advocate of modern art, Sweeney organized major exhibitions and authored books, essays, reviews, and articles which fostered greater interest in twentieth-century art among the American public. He died on April 14, 1986.

From the description of James Johnson Sweeney correspondence, 1961-1967. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122319012

The Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston began to consider providing the new museum with a paid, professional staff after construction of the building commenced in 1923. The Board realized that a competent professional was needed to oversee the daily administration of the Museum and thus created the office of Director. At first the post carried no specific duties or privileges; rather, the Director was expected to carry out those responsibilities established as norms by "common acceptance of the term, Director, and common practice among museums." The Director was made a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and was "empowered to speak and act authoritatively for the Board of Trustees" on all matters, insofar as his actions did not conflict with general policies as outlined by the Executive Committee.

In November 1923 the Trustees, with the approval of officers and members of the Houston Art League, hired James H. Chillman, Jr. as the MFA,H's first Director. Chillman, a professor of architecture at Rice Institute (now Rice University) and an accomplished watercolorist, began his duties in April 1924, when the Museum officially opened.

The Directors of the MFA,H have all led the institution with varying styles and emphases and according to their own particular criteria and circumstances. During Chillman's tenure the Museum became established as the prime mover in local art education and provided a venue for regular exhibitions of the work of local and Texas artists. This primarily local focus was expanded under Directors James Johnson Sweeney (1961-1967) and Philippe de Montebello (1969-1973), whose personal tastes and close associations with New York museums fostered a more international atmosphere and guided the MFA,H towards greater national prominence.

Independently of personal management styles, however, the office of Director has evolved, over the years, in accord with the natural growth of the institution. The Director became a full-time position only as late as 1953, when Mr. Chillman retired after having served in a part-time capacity since 1924.

Many early functions of the Director--which included curatorial, managerial, budgetary, and scholarly tasks--were gradually assumed by a growing staff of specialized professionals who arrived as the MFA,H and its collections grew in size and prominence. Ultimately the Director's role remains versatile, combining the functions of curator, art connoisseur, administrator, educator, and fund-raiser. The records illustrate the responsibilities of the office and provide information on every aspect of the institution and its functions. The Director's internal correspondence is especially instructive, reflecting changes in the growth of the collections and in the MFA,H's overall orientation.

From the description of Records, 1924-[ongoing]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122530436

Philippe de Montebello was raised in Southern France and educated at Harvard and New York University. He became Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in September 1969, formerly having been Associate Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Under his direction the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston expanded its collections, placing emphasis on the acquisition of antiquities and masterpieces of European painting and drawing. De Montebello remained Director until December 1973.

From the description of Philippe de Montebello miscellaneous correspondence files, 1969-1973. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122349007

Peter C. Marzio has been Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since 1982, the longest tenure of the museum's full-time directors.

From the description of Peter C. Marzio, subject files, master plan, 1984-2000. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123530629

James H. Chillman, Jr., first Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was born in Philadelphia on December 24, 1891. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Academy of Arts, with concentrations in architecture and drawing. In 1916 he joined the Faculty of Rice University in Houston and was later appointed a Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome (1919-1922). He served as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 1924 to 1953 and as Interim Director from 1959 to 1960. Chillman placed emphasis on the role of the Museum as a civic institution and was dedicated to the widespread integration of art into public life. He died on May 13, 1972.

From the description of James H. Chillman, Jr. radio spot announcements and programs, 1938-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122319022

Philippe de Montebello was raised in Southern France and educated at Harvard and New York University. He became Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in September 1969, formerly having been Associate Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Under his direction the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston expanded its collections, placing emphasis on the acquisition of antiquities and masterpieces of European painting and drawing. De Montebello remained Director until December 1973.

From the description of Philippe de Montebello reader files, 1969-1973. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122530439

Lee H. B. Malone (1913-1989) served as the first full-time Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from May 1953 to June 1959. Malone was raised in Europe and educated at Yale University. His years were characterized by the expansion of the Museum's permanent collection and the growth of its facilities, which came to include the monumental Cullinan Hall designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1958.

From the description of Lee H. B. Malone correspondence and miscellaneous subjects, 1949-1960. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122545901

Peter C. Marzio has been Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since 1982, the longest tenure of the museum's full-time directors.

From the description of Peter C. Marzio : exhibition files, 1987-2001. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123530628

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Philippe de Montebello subject files, 1969-1974. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Peter C. Marzio : exhibition files, 1987-2001. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Records, 1924-[ongoing]. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James H. Chillman, Jr. correspondence and miscellaneous subjects, 1924-1970. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Philippe de Montebello reader files, 1969-1973. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Peter C. Marzio, subject files, 1982-1999. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James H. Chillman, Jr. radio spot announcements and programs, 1938-1950. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James Johnson Sweeney subject files, 1961-1968. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James Johnson Sweeney correspondence, 1961-1967. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Peter C. Marzio, subject files, master plan, 1984-2000. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Lee H. B. Malone correspondence and miscellaneous subjects, 1949-1960. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. Philippe de Montebello miscellaneous correspondence files, 1969-1973. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
creatorOf Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director. James H. Chillman, Jr. bequests and special funds, 1923-1970. Hirsch Library Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Association of Art Museum Directors. corporateBody
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associatedWith De Montebello, Philippe. person
associatedWith De Montebello, Philippe. person
associatedWith de Montebello, Philippe, 1937- person
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associatedWith Myers, Bernard Samuel, 1908- person
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associatedWith Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010. person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986. person
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associatedWith Page, Addison Franklin. person
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associatedWith Stoller, Ezra. person
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associatedWith Straus, Percy Selden, 1876-1944. person
associatedWith Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986. person
associatedWith Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986. person
associatedWith Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986. person
associatedWith Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986. person
associatedWith Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986. person
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associatedWith Winchester, Alice. person
associatedWith Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Austria--Styria
Shanghai
Texas--Galveston
Galveston Island (Tex.)
Brazil
Egypt
Houston (Tex.)
Texas--Houston
Ireland
Texas
Subject
Fountain
Garden Endowment Fund
Glassell Collection of African Gold
Hispanic Art in the U.S
Housing development
Kress Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Lithographic workshops
Mayor's Art Awards (Houston, TX)
Museums
Museum trustees
Pompeii (Extinct city)
Public broadcasting
Radio programs, Public service
Radio in education
Radio scripts
Russia
Ruth K. Shartle Symposium
Satellite Exhibition Project
Weapons
Architecture, Domestic
African American arts
African Americans in art
Architecture
Art
Art
Art
Art and war
Art appreciation
Art dealers
Art galleries, Commercial
Art in Embassies Program (U.S.)
Art museum architecture
Art museum curators
Art museum directors
Art museums
Art objects
Art patronage
Arts
Arts fund raising
Arts publicity
Bank buildings
Baseball
Blacks in art
Comic books, strips, etc.
Comics and America documentary proposal
Cultural Diversity Policy
Occupation
Activity
Art critics
Art dealers
Art galleries, Commercial
Art museum directors
Art patrons

Corporate Body

Active 1924

Active 1970

Active 1969

Active 1974

Active 1961

Active 1968

Active 1923

Active 1970

Active 1982

Active 1999

Active 1961

Active 1967

Active 1969

Active 1973

Active 1984

Active 2000

Active 1938

Active 1950

Active 1949

Active 1960

Active 1987

Active 2001

English,

German,

Spanish; Castilian,

Italian,

French

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