Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director.
RG02:05:03 Montebello Subject Files 1969-1974

A Guide to the Office of the Director, Philippe de Montebello, Subject Files
in the Archives of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Author:

Inventory prepared by EVL

Publisher:

Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Address:

P.O. Box 6826; Houston, TX 77265-6826

Date:

1/1/1985




Summary Information


Title:

Montebello Subject Files

Creator:

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Office of the Director.

Inclusive Dates:

1969-1974

Extent:

1.75 linear ft.

Abstract:

This series contains the subject files of Philippe de Montebello, MFAH Director from 1969-1974. It documents de Montebello´s involvement with administrative affairs while he was Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Prominent subjects include possible accessions; fundraising drives; preparations for ceremonies marking the opening (January 14-20, 1974) of the Brown Pavilion, the final addition to the Mies van der Rohe´s portion of the MFA,H´s Caroline Wiess Law building; travel tours organized by the MFAH; and the deaccessioning of objects from the collection.

Call Number:

RG02:05:03

Language:

Materials are in English, French, Spanish

Repository:

Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
P.O. Box 6826; Houston, TX 77265-6826




Access and Use


Acquisition Information:
In 1984 the Director´s records were transferred to the Archives from the Museum´s rental storage area, vault storage, library storage, the Houston office of the Archives of American Art, and the registrar´s office. The Archives continues to receive regular deposits from the Office of the Director.

Access Restrictions:
Restrictions vary according to nature of materials. Consult the Archives for particulars.

Preferred Citation:
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Archives. RG02:05:03, Office of the Director, Philippe de Montebello, Subject Files, 1969-1974.




Biographical or Historical Note


Philippe de Montebello, the MFAH´s fifth director, served from September of 1969 through January of 1974. Prior to the MFAH directorship, that he began at the age of thirty-three, he had been part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art´s curatorial staff since 1963. De Montebello is a naturalized U.S. citizen who moved from France with his family in 1951. From 1956 — 1958, he served in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Artillery Officer. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a B.A.
in the history of art in 1961. Before accepting his first position at the Met, he worked toward his Masters at New York University´s Institute of Fine Arts.

During his tenure as MFAH director, de Montebello oversaw the construction of the Brown Pavilion. He expanded the professional curatorial staff from one to six and created two new departments: the Department of Twentieth Century Art and the Education Department. He successfully launched and
concluded what at the time was the largest capital campaign in MFAH history, the fifteen million dollar drive to raise funds for the Brown Pavilion, the renovation of Bayou Bend, and the construction of a building to house the museum school. The campaign was also to raise funds for an acquisitions endowment and for overall operations. Under his leadership, the operating endowment quintupled, and a two million dollar acquisitions fund, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Endowment Fund, was established. As director, de Montebello added significant Baroque pieces to the collection of the museum.

He hired a professional publicist as Publications Editor, and introduced the monthly publication of bulletins. In programming, de Montebello accelerated the film and lecture series, and hosted the first colloquia. He also recognized the importance of the library, obtaining special funding for it.
In February of 1974, de Montebello returned to the Metropolitan Museum as Vice Director of Curatorial Affairs. He became the Met´s Acting Director in June of 1977, and in May of 1978 he became Director.



Arrangement


Alphabetical.



Collection Scope and Content Note


The Subject files document de Montebello´s involvement with administrative affairs while he was Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Prominent subjects include possible accessions; fundraising drives; preparations for ceremonies marking the opening (January 14-20, 1974) of the Brown Pavilion, the final addition to the Mies van der Rohe´s portion of the MFAH´s Caroline Wiess Law building; travel tours organized by the MFAH; and the deaccessioning of objects from the collection.

The Subject Files contain extensive papers related to the construction of the Brown Pavilion. These include memoranda, correspondence, and reports (1971-1974) from architects Bruno Conterato and Arthur G. Salzman of the Office of Mies van der Rohe, Chicago; construction proposals and progress reports issued by the Houston construction management firm, Mayan Co.; technical reports and diagrams related to lighting requirements and subsurface drainage systems for the Brown Pavilion; and letters from architect (and former student of Mies´) A. S. Takeuchi concerning his designs for interior installation structures for the building.

The Subject Files also contain papers related to an exhibition (January 21 -March 14, 1971) of the tapestries of Spanish artist Josep Grau-Garriga which was curated by Philippe de Montebello and curator J. L. Schrader. The papers include letters and telegrams exchanged by de Montebello and Schrader while the latter was in Barcelona selecting works for exhibition in Houston; an original typescript of the preface to the exhibition catalogue by Georges Boudaille; and letters from Grau-Garriga to de Montebello.



Subject Terms


Subjects
Art museum architecture — Texas — Houston
Art museum curators — Texas — Houston
Art museum directors — Texas — Houston
Art museums — Texas — Houston

Personal Names
Boudaille, Georges
Conterato, Bruno
de Montebello, Philippe
Grau-Garriga, Josep, 1929-
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig
Salzman, Arthur George
Schrader, J. L.
Takeuchi, Arthur S., 1931-

Corporate Names
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston




Container List


Subject files, 1969-1974
box 1folder 1Accessions
3Administrative memos and policies
4Admissions charge study
5Art Gallery magazine
6Art Quarterly
7Bayou Bend miscellaneous
9Brown Pavilion: Andrews Gallery
10Brown Pavilion: Coates Memorial
11Brown Pavilion: inaugral ceremony
12Brown Pavilion: lighting requirements
13Brown Pavilion: Masterson Gallery
14-16Brown Pavilion: Mayan Construction Co.
17-20Brown Pavilion: Mies Van Der Rohe offices
21Brown Pavilion: miscellaneous
22Brown Pavilion: museum offices and requirements
23Brown Pavilion: business and the arts
box 2folder 1-7Capital fund drive
8Deaccessions
9Film: "The Thief Who Came to Dinner" (Warner´s 1972)
10-11Grau-Garriga exhibition, 1/21/1971-3/14/1971
15Invitations, misc.
16Lectures/Symposia, 1969-1973
17Lectures/Symposia unscheduled, 1970-1973
18Legal matters, misc.
19Library reports, 1972-1973
20Maintenance fund drive
21-22Memoranda to and from staff, 1969-1971
box 3folder 1-2Memoranda to and from staff, 1972-1973
3Museum Publications of America
4-11Museum travel tours
12-22Possible accessions: A-Z
23Professional activities, 1968-1969
24Professional activities, 1970
25Professional activities, 1971-1972
26Professional activities: text for lectures
27Skowhegan School
28Staff list, 1972
29Staff meeting minutes, 1973
33Trip: Europe, 3/1970
34Trip: Denver, 1971
35Trip: Europe, 1972
box 4folder 1Trip: New York, 1972
2Trip: San Francisco, 1972
3Trip: New York, 1973
4Trip: Europe, 1973
5Unions (collective bargaining), 1974
6Withers Swan, 1/3/1971
7Withers Swan, 4/6/1971
8Withers Swan, 7/9/1971
9Withers Swan, 10/12/1971
10Withers Swan, 1972
11Works of art: loaned to MFAH, 1970
12Works of art: loaned to MFAH, 1970-1971