Hoving, Thomas Pearsall Field

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hoving, Thomas Pearsall Field

Thomas Pearsall Field Hoving, 1931–2009, American art historian, museum director, and public official, b. New York City, grad. Princeton (B.A. 1953, M.A., Ph.D. 1959). He joined (1959) the Metropolitan Museum of Art, becoming curator of the Cloisters and the medieval art department in 1965, but left that year to become New York City's parks commissioner. An activist administrator, he initiated Central Park's revival and other reforms, then returned as the Met's director half a year later after his predecessor died. Passionate and often controversial, Hoving doubled the Met's size; initiated blockbuster loan shows, e.g., the "King Tut" exhibit (1978), that increased attendance; secured magnificent collections from donors and spent lavishly on masterpieces of art, e.g., Velázquez's Juan de Pareja and architecture, e.g., the Temple of Dendur; and greatly expanded museum marketing and merchandising. After retiring (1977) he served as a television art correspondent (1978–84) and arts magazine editor (1981–91). He also authored more than a dozen books.

See his memoir (1993).

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