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Alfred Barr

Alfred Barr

His legacy

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Nathan Sukonik

March 16, 2013
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  1. + Alfred H. Barr Jr. Nathan Sukonik

  2. + Background: n  Alfred Barr had a strong background in

    education and art history. n  He received a bachelors and masters of art history in only two years time from Princeton University. n  He would use this education to pursue a career of professorship at Vassar and Wesseley Colleges.
  3. + Historical Setting: n  Barr took a Grand Tour vacation

    for $500 with his closest friend to travel Paris, Italy and England (1924 -1925) n  Alfred Barr was hired as an associate professor to teach art history at Wellesley College. n  He taught the first ever-undergraduate course on Modern Art. n  On seeing there was very little modern art education at Vassar he decided to introduce his own ideas at Wesley until 1927 n  After teaching until 1929 at Princeton he was offered to become the first director of the Museum of Modern Art
  4. + Map of Acquirements: by Country

  5. + Accomplishments: n  in the autumn of 1929 the Museum

    of modern Art opened a gallery for painting and sculpture on the 14th floor of a New York City skyscraper. n  Assuming the post in August 1929, aged only twenty-seven, Barr organized the Museum so that it held its first loan exhibition in November, on the Post- Impressionists Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Seurat. n  Today because of its exquisite directorship under Alfred Barr, it has its very own building. n  He arranged the Van Gogh exhibition of 1935, that was a blockbuster success
  6. + Accomplishments: n  Alfred Barr is awarded the Carnegie Fellowship

    in 1929 n  The requirements for his PhD included writing a dissertation on modern art and Cubism at New York University, at which he qualified for full scholarship. n  You can thank Alfred Barr for the artistic nature of Central Park in New York City. n  Not only did he fight against Park authorities that wanted to turn the park into a parking lot in the 1950s but he also fought to preserve the park’s natural beauty and use it to showcase modern artists n  Alfred Barr becomes one of the youngest and most successful Museum directors in history with not 1 but 2 legendary exhibitions. n  His exhibitions were so well known, people from all over the world flocked to the MoMA.
  7. + Risks: n  Barr abandons his Carnegie fellowship to become

    the first curator of the MoMA. n  He supported European artists even during the times when Americans favored your average American artist and would flock to the Guggenheim Museum in the 1940s. n  During a disastrous fire in 1958 Barr smashed a window from the roof of MoMA and saved the lives of over 100 employees. n  Today the Guggenheim carries almost as much European art as the MoMA.
  8. + Failures: n  In 1943 Barr is dismissed as director

    of the Museum. It was very short-lived, he would return to the post as they needed him to lead the way for changes to the museum. n  In 1943 Museum of Modern Art president Nelson Rockefeller, to whom Barr had been personal art advisor for many years dismisses as director of the Museum n  Barr was allowed to stay on as an advisory director n  Barr tracked Picasso’s three musicians for nearly 3 decades before he acquired it for the MoMA – it took too long
  9. + Period with Weak Economy: n  He joined the museum

    right before the recession in 1930, he joined in 1929 n  The Staff of the museum including Alfred Barr were not harshly affected by the recession and Depression. As a matter of fact it was partly due to this fact that the museum prospered, doing extremely well during the 1930s. n  The 1930s followed Barr’s inception in to the museum, he would through many harsh years come create the museum we know and love today. n  Barr had to work much more than his previous family members, but he showed great tenacity and hard work.
  10. + Works Cited Alexander, Ralph. "MoMA as Educator: The Legacy

    of Alfred H. Barr, Jr." Review of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the Museum of Modern Art by Sybil Gordon Kantor. The Journal of Aesthetic Education 39.2 (2005): 97–103. Alexander Barr, Alfred H., Jr. Painting And Sculpture Collection. Paris: Les Editions Braun & C, 1950. Print. Museum "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011. Book of Members Kantor, Gordin Sybil. Alfred H. Barr Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the Museum of Modern Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2002. Print. Kantor Kert, Bernice. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family. New York: Random House, 1993. 376. Kert Marquis, Alice Goldfarb. Alfred H Barr Missionary for the Modern. Chicago, Illinois: Contemporary Books Inc., 1989. Print. Missionary Meyer, Richard. "What Was Contemporary Art?" Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA. February 21, 2007. Meyer