The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that Philippe de Montebello—whose long and storied career at the Museum has spanned nearly a third of the institution’s entire history—will retire after more than 30 years as its eighth, and longest-serving, Director. Mr. de Montebello, who first joined the staff as a curatorial assistant in 1963, became Director in 1977, and assumed the additional role of Chief Executive Officer in 1998, plans to step down by December 31, 2008.
"To say that his decision marks the end of an era surely constitutes one of the great understatements, not only in the Museum’s life, but in the cultural life of the city, the state, the nation, and the world," said James R. Houghton, Chairman of the Metropolitan’s Board of Trustees. "Philippe de Montebello’s manifest contributions to the Met span four decades bridging two different centuries. He leaves an incomparable legacy of accomplishment that has significantly enhanced the institution and brilliantly served its vast international public. No museum director anywhere has done more to expand and enrich the appreciation of art for more generations and with greater taste, erudition, diplomacy, and vision than Philippe de Montebello. As much as we regret his planned departure, we join in celebrating achievements that will sustain the Metropolitan—its collections, its programs, and its magnificent galleries—for generations to come." Click here  to read the story published in The Wall Street Journal .