Musée d’Orsay chief curator trades Paris for Philly to take up post at Barnes Foundation

Musée d’Orsay chief curator trades Paris for Philly to take up post at Barnes Foundation

The Art Newspaper
November 5, 2015
By Julia Halperin

The institution has named Sylvie Patry as its new chief curator and deputy director for collections and exhibitions

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has appointed Sylvie Patry as its new chief curator and deputy director for collections and exhibitions. Patry joins the museum in January 2016 after a decade at the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, where she served as chief curator of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.

Patry’s appointment is something of a coup for the institution, which moved into its controversial new home in downtown Philadelphia in 2012 after a drawn-out court battle. Since then, the museum has been slowly staffing up—and has experienced a dramatic overhaul in its leadership. In 2014, Joseph Neubauer became chairman of the board of trustees. Thom Collins, the former director of the Perez Art Museum, Miami, was named the director in January.

The Barnes had been without a chief curator for more than one year. Judith Dolkart left the post to become the director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy in Massachusetts in spring 2014. Patry will be tasked with expanding the foundation’s exhibition programme and spearheading new research into the collection.

Patry has organised exhibitions and edited publications dedicated to many of the artists Alfred Barnes collected in-depth, including Renoir, Cezanne and Van Gogh. (The Barnes has 181 works by Renoir, 69 by Cezanne and seven by Van Gogh.) She has also organised presentations of lesser-known painters from the period, including Maurice Denis and Ferdinand Holder.

Most recently, Patry organised a travelling exhibition dedicated to Paul Durand-Ruel, the dealer who popularised Impressionism, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris and the National Gallery in London. She attended the Center for Curatorial Leadership at Columbia University in 2014.

In a statement, Patry described the Barnes as “a collection that is legendary and unparalleled in the annals of art history. A tremendous wealth of social, historical and anthropological information resides within the collection and I look forward to working with my colleagues at the Barnes to bring this rich knowledge to the forefront.”