Part of the reason I love the Met was the work done by Thomas Hoving, Met director from 1966-1977.
His NYT obituary includes this paragraph:
“My collecting style was pure piracy, and I got a reputation as a shark,” he wrote, adding that his little black book of “dealers and private collectors, smugglers and fixers” was bigger than anyone’s.
The mummies will mourn his passing, as will we all.
One of the best writers about art, Michael Kimmelman of the NYT, offers this appraisal of Mr. Hoving in the Sunday Times (12/13/09)
I'm sorry to hear this. I certainly enjoyed his writing in MAKING THE MUMMIES DANCE, and even if I didn't agree with all of his choices, Hoving made a huge impression on the museum world.
John McPhee's profile of Hoving, "A Room Full of Hovings," is a marvelous read. Well worth a look.
He was also an excellent writer. His book King of the Confessors, about his/the Met's acquisition of the Cross of Bury St. Edmunds (I think it's called) is one of the best pieces of non-fiction I've ever read. Right up there with, say, John McPhee.
I hope one day to visit the MMA... I love art museums.
"King of the Confessors" is a fascinating book - not only for its subject but also for his style and approach. I re-read it every couple of years.
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