Wasting no time, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has
formed a committee to begin an international search for a replacement
for Philippe de Montebello, who announced on Tuesday that he would
retire after 30 years as the museum's director.
At a conference on Wednesday, Mr. de Montebello —
who will not play an active role in choosing a successor — cautioned
that a search would probably take several months and that results should
not be expected until at least the late summer or fall. He said he had
told the board he was willing stay through the middle of 2009 if a
search dragged on, but that he hoped to leave earlier.
Asked by reporters which works from the Met he would take with him if he
could, Mr. de Montebello cited a Jan van Eyck diptych of the
Crucifixion and Watteau's "Mezzetin," a portrait of a commedia dell'arte
musician playing a guitar. "This place is just so full of wonderful
things, I could go on and on," he said.
He said that he had no definite career plans, but would not return to being a curator or working in the art-history field.
The search committee, which met for the first time on Wednesday, is
being led by Annette de la Renta and S. Parker Gilbert, who are vice
chairmen of the museum's board. The other members are Daniel Brodsky,
Russell L. Carson, Robert D. Joffe, Susana Torruella Leval, Cynthia
Hazen Polsky, Frank E. Richardson, James E. Shipp, Lulu C. Wang and
Shelby White. (Ms. White, with her husband, Leon Levy, who died in 2003,
gave the Met $20 million to help create the museum's new Greek and
The Met joins a long list of museums in the market for directors,
including the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Hirshhorn Museum and
Sculpture Garden in Washington and the Nasher Sculpture Center in
By Randy Kennedy
For The New York Times