NEW YORK.- Dr. Louise Mirrer, President & CEO of the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) has announced that Dr. Linda S. Ferber will become a new Vice President and Director of the Museum division for the Historical Society. Dr. Ferber is currently Chair of the American Art Department at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art. Prior to that role, Dr. Ferber served as Chief Curator for the Brooklyn Museum from 1985 to 2000.
"Linda Ferber is a superb historian of American art and artifacts, who fully understands the importance of our collections, both aesthetically and historically," said Dr. Mirrer. "The N-YHS is fortunate to have attracted one of the most distinguished historians of American art in the world. Her appointment underscores the Society's seriousness about taking its rightful place within the pantheon of New York cultural institutions." Dr. Mirrer said that she expected to work very closely with
Dr. Ferber in charting the Society's future.
Dr. Ferber will be the co-curator of an upcoming exhibition on the Society's famous Hudson River School paintings, which will open in mid-May. She will also be very closely involved with the next major exhibit at N-YHS, Slavery and the Making of New York, which opens in October 2005. The two-part exhibit will explore the untold story of the slave trade in New York from its earliest roots in the 1600's of the Dutch settlement of 'Neu Amsterdam'. As V.P. and Museum Director for N-YHS, Dr. Ferber will oversee all current exhibitions and the development of future shows as well as exhibit and curatorial staff.
Dr. Ferber led the program area of historic American painting and sculpture at Brooklyn Museum since 1976. Among the exhibitions she has organized for the Museum include: The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites (1985), Albert Bierstadt: Art & Enterprise (1991) and Masters of Color and Light: Homer, Sargent and the American Watercolor Movement (1998), all of which were accompanied by scholarly catalogues. She has worked with curatorial colleagues to develop the historic American collections – oil paintings, watercolors, pastels and sculpture ranging in date from 1720 to 1945. For more than a decade, she has also overseen and participated in the preparation of a monumental scholarly collection catalogue that will be published in 2005.
Dr. Ferber has worked in the museum field for 35 years, with extensive experience in academic and exhibition activities, as well as her curatorial work. She has held filled numerous administrative and management roles at the Brooklyn Museum, including the development of project, departmental and institutional budgets, long-range planning, grant writing and fund raising. She participated in the formulation of 12 annual operating budgets, two as Acting Director. As Chief Curator from 1985 to 1999, she was responsible for all curatorial program, acquisition, and exhibition development activities that oversee an encyclopedic collection comprising well over one million objects. Also reporting to her were the conservation, registrar, collection and exhibition management departments, as well as the art reference libraries and museum archives.
"Linda Ferber has had a rich and rewarding career here at the Brooklyn Museum, working in both the curatorial and the administrative realms,” said Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum. “Under her leadership the American programs have flourished, leaving a lasting contribution to one of the great strengths of this museum and a splendid preparation for her new mission at the N-YHS. These two institutions, among the oldest public collections in the United States, have had a long history of interconnection. Linda’s appointment will enable us both to explore future opportunities to enhance our mutual commitment to serve New Yorkers and the nation."
Dr. Ferber is a founding trustee of the Association of Art Museum Curators and serves on the New York Advisory Committee for the Archives of American Art. She is a member of the Art Advisory Council for the International Foundation for Art Research and belongs to the Century Association. She graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College in 1966 and received her Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University in 1980, where she served as an adjunct professor until 1998. She was project director for the newly opened Visible Storage Study Center that completes the Luce Center for American Art at Brooklyn Museum. In 2002, she received the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the field of American Art History from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
The N-YHS Museum is New York’s oldest, predating the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History by nearly 70 years. Its art holdings comprise more than 1.6 million works, among them a world-class collection of Hudson River School paintings including works by Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church; a vast range of American portraits, among them paintings by Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart; all 435 original watercolors from John J. Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-38); and an encyclopedic collection of over 800 works documenting the full range of representational sculpture in America from the colonial period to the present day. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm.