d'Harnoncourt's death shakes art world

June 2, 2008 9:25:00 PM PDT
The art world is mourning the death of Anne d'Harnoncourt, the CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who died Sunday night at her home in Center City. Reports now say the 64 year old apparently suffered a stroke.

On its website the Art Museum says since 1982 Anne d'Harnoncourt led the institution with greatness and grace. Tonight colleagues said her unexpected death is a loss not only for the art community in Philadelphia but around the world.

Anne d'harnoncourt started at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a curatorial assistant in 1967, and became one of the most influential women in the world of art. She died yesterday of natural causes at her home in Center City.

Dr. Edward T. Lewis, President of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, tells us, "Clearly she cast an enormous shadow, in the best sense in the Philadelphia art world, and I think it's difficult to grasp the ways that she'll be missed but she'll be sorely missed."

d'Harnoncourt was not only a cultural leader, she was a fighter for the art community. She played an integral role in keeping the Gross Clinic here in Philadelphia, expanding the museum by acquiring the Perlman building and led the museum through two major fundraising campaigns, which brought in more than $300-million.

d'Harnnoncourt also helped make the Art Museum the official U.S. representative in the 2009 Venice Bianali - the biggest arts festival in the world.

The Chairman of the Board of trustees of the Museum said today that, "Anne's death is a severe loss to our beloved Museum, to the world of art and to those who knew and loved her,"

Mayor Michel Nutter said this of dharnoncourt: "She was both totally sophisticated, and down to earth - a wonderful combination. No matter how much I knew about art, she always made me feel like I knew more than I did. She will be sadly missed."