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2013-06-13

Brian T. Allen Joins the New-York Historical Society as Vice President and Museum Director

New York, NY, June 12, 2013 - Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, has announced that museum director, curator and art historian Brian T. Allen will become a Vice President of New-York Historical and Director of its Museum division as of January 1, 2014. Dr. Allen will assume his duties when Dr. Linda S. Ferber steps down from that post. Dr. Ferber, who will retain the title of Senior Art Historian, will continue to do research and write about New-York Historical's Museum collection. Dr. Ferber has achieved a distinguished record of landmark exhibitions and publications at New-York Historical over the course of eight years of service.

Louise Mirrer stated, “The New-York Historical Society is fortunate to have had Linda Ferber at the helm of its Museum. She is one of the most accomplished historians of American art in the world, and her work on New-York Historical's behalf has marked a turning point for the institution. As she steps down from the Directorship of our Museum, we are grateful to welcome a superb historian of American art and artifacts, and a proven museum leader, Dr. Brian Allen. We look forward to the major contributions that he is certain to make."

Brian Allen stated, “I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with the President of New-York Historical, its gifted staff, its wonderfully committed and supportive board and especially with the collection and the exhibition program, both of which are virtually unparalleled in their importance. I am excited to be a part of this great institution’s future.”

Dr. Allen has served as the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, since 2004. Prior to joining the Addison, he was the curator of American art and director of collections and exhibitions at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Dr. Allen raised more than $40 million for the completion of a $30 million renovation of the Addison’s Charles Platt building and the construction of the Sidney R. Knafel Wing, the first major addition to the Addison in its 75-year history, as well as for operating expenses and acquisitions. During his tenure, the collection grew by a third, to more than 17,000 objects in all media.

Under his direction, the Addison mounted award-winning retrospectives of the work of William Wegman, Sheila Hicks, and Carroll Dunham; the exhibition Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s-1950s, which drew from the permanent collection and traveled to Venice, London, Quebec City, Dallas, and Fort Lauderdale and was seen by more than half a million people; American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, and de Kooning, which was shown in Purchase, and focused shows on the late work of John Marin and the early platework of Jennifer Bartlett. Each show had a major scholarly catalogue co-published with Yale University Press. An American in London: Whistler and the Thames, co-organized with the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and the Freer/Sackler at the Smithsonian in Washington, will open in autumn 2013 in London. Other upcoming self-organized loan shows include retrospectives of the work of Mark Tobey, Robert Arneson, and Alfred Maurer, an examination of the late work of Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, and other great American Modernists, and a show on the vision of the New York dealer Allan Stone as both a collector and dealer.

The New-York Historical Society’s exhibition The Folk Art Collection of Elie Nadelman: Making It Modern will travel to the Addison in 2015.

Dr. Allen received his BA from Wesleyan, his MA from Williams and his Ph.D. in the History of Art from Yale. He also has a JD from the University of Connecticut. He has curated exhibitions on topics that include the drawings and paintings of Jean-François Millet, the maple sugar making paintings of Eastman Johnson, the iceberg paintings and photographs of William Bradford and nineteenth-century Austrian art. His scholarly writings range from nineteenth-century American painting to the poetry of the Romantic era.

“Brian Allen is truly fortunate to succeed Linda Ferber. It was Linda who helped restore the New-York Historical Society’s great art collection and set the stage for Brian to now take us to new heights,” stated Roger Hertog, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Pam Schafler, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Chairman’s Council, commented: “Linda Ferber engaged the public and Chairman's Council members with superb scholarship and a contagious enthusiasm for our collection. Dr. Brian Allen embraces this legacy and is well poised to lead our next stage of development."


About the New-York Historical Society Museum
The New-York Historical Society’s museum is the oldest in New York City and predates the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by nearly seventy years. Its art holdings comprise more than 1.6 million works. Among them are a world-class collection of Hudson River School paintings, including major works by Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church; iconic genre and history paintings including works by William Sidney Mount and Eastman Johnson; a vast range of American portraits, including paintings by Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart; all 435 of John James Audubon’s extant preparatory watercolors for Birds of America; and an encyclopedic collection of more than 800 works documenting the full range of representational sculpture in America from the colonial period to the present day. The Museum also holds much of sculptor Elie Nadelman’s legendary American folk art collection, including furniture and household accessories such as lamps, candlesticks, textiles, glass and ceramic objects, as well as paintings, toys, weathervanes, sculptural woodcarvings and chalkware.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City. New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; Lincoln and New York; the Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society; Audubon's Aviary: the Complete Flock; and WWII & NYC. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs are one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.

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