Cuno, who will become the first American to direct the Courtald, has shown an interest beyond museum administration, applying his art interests to teaching. At Harvard, he taught several popular classes, including a freshman seminar and a Core Curriculum course on Impressionist art.
The role in London will also give Cuno power to act more unilaterally, without authorization from the myriad departments which oversee the museums at Harvard.
“It’s going to be different because it’s not as complicated an institution, and I am director of the whole thing,” he said.
Cuno departs with an 11-year legacy of having brought strength and energy to the Harvard museums.
In a statement, Summers praised Cuno “as an eminent curator and an institutional leader of skill and intelligence.”
Since Cuno became Harvard’s art museums director in 1991, he has brought in a much-needed influx of money to the museums—which comprise the Fogg, the Arthur M. Sackler and the Busch-Reisinger—doubling the staff and budget of the organization.
He also helped to expand the Straus Center for Conservation, forming a partnership with the Whitney Museum that brought in Carol Mancusi-Ungaro to head up a new Center for the Technical Study for Modern Art.
Cuno is well known throughout the art world. He serves as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and frequently travels the lecture circuit.
Hyman will lead an international search for a replacement this summer and fall, according to a released statement.
The proposal to build a new modern art museum—widely considered Cuno’s pet project—has been held up for years due to objections from the Riverside community.
“The degree of opposition to the museum proposal by the Riverside study committee was really very significant,” said Mary Power, Harvard’s senior director of community relations. “There was very little interest expressed in considering an option that would allow the museum proposal to go forward.”
Many view a new modern art museum, for which schematic designs already exist, as a necessary expansion to exhibit Harvard’s huge—and largely undisplayed—collection of modern art.
The Fogg’s modern collection is limited to a few rooms of the works owned by Harvard—whose permanent collection of modern art, according to Harry Cooper, associate curator for modern art at the Fogg, encompasses over 1,000 paintings, sculptures and decorative arts created since 1900—not even including prints and drawings.
Riverside Museum Proposal DitchedAfter a three-year battle with the community over the University’s proposal to build a modern art museum on the Charles
Forging a Public TrustWith funding for cultural institutions on the decline, the question of the role of museums in preserving the artifacts of
Art Museums Mull OverhaulAnticipating renovations and the selection of a new director, one of the world’s wealthiest university museums will draw up blueprints
Former Museums Director Moves to Art Institute of ChicagoOnly a year after leaving Harvard to head the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the former director of the
Cuno Comes Back to Cambridge to Pump New BookHis critics call him too conservative. He says he’s “radical” and “polemical.” Since James Cuno left his post as director