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Colby College President William Adams announced today that Daniel Rosenfeld, currently Academy Professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, has been appointed director of the Colby College Museum of Art. Hugh Gourley, the museum’s director for nearly four decades, will retire this fall.

“We are delighted that a scholar and administrator of Dan Rosenfeld’s stature has agreed to take up this mantle,” Adams said. “His dedication to art and to higher education makes this appointment a perfect fit for Colby.”

Colby’s museum is considered one of the premier academic art museums in the nation, thanks in large part, Adams says, to Gourley. “Colby has benefited in countless ways from Hugh’s vision and leadership, and we are very grateful to him,” Adams said. “He has built one of the best college museums anywhere. We are fortunate that we have in Dan Rosenfeld someone who can carry on Hugh’s legacy of excellence.”

A native of Philadelphia, Rosenfeld earned his undergraduate degree at The Johns Hopkins University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Stanford University. He held faculty and visiting faculty appointments at Boston University, Wellesley College, Brown University and the University of Chicago before turning to museum administration at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1981. After stints as research associate and acting curator at Yale, he served as curator of painting and sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design (1984-1995) and director of the museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1996-2000), the oldest arts institution and museum in the nation.

While Rosenfeld was its director, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts museum saw steady and substantial increases in attendance, admission revenue and memberships. Rosenfeld also oversaw an ambitious schedule of publications about the museum’s permanent collection and its temporary exhibitions. During his tenure the museum expanded its exhibition program and shifted its focus toward the educational mission of the academy, emphasizing the contemporary role of the institution as well as its historical importance.

Rosenfeld is the author of European Painting and Sculpture, ca. 1770-1937, as well as numerous essays in exhibition catalogues and scholarly journals on topics including the sculpture of Auguste Rodin, 19th-century French and American painting and modern and contemporary American art.

“The Colby College Museum of Art is an ideal model of the college museum,” Rosenfeld said. “It is a resource of great potential for both the college and the community. Hugh Gourley’s achievement as its director sets a very high standard, and it is an honor to be asked to uphold that standard.” “I’ve long been familiar with Colby’s reputation as one of the very finest liberal arts colleges in this country,” he said. “Now that I’ve had the privilege to meet a critical number of its trustees, faculty, students and staff, I’ve come to appreciate the unique personality of the college, its high standards and the contributions of all these good people–as well as the many more whom I look forward to meeting–to the unique quality and character of this very special place. I’m thrilled to become a part of it and to have this opportunity to advance the museum’s contribution to Colby’s educational and cultural life.”

Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art has built a permanent collection that specializes in American art but includes works ranging from ancient Asian ceramics to works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. The collection includes 18th-century American portrait artists, the American Heritage Collection of primitive paintings, watercolors and drawings and the Jett? Collection of American Painters of the Impressionist Period. Twentieth-century artists whose works are exhibited regularly include Andrew Wyeth, Louise Nevelson, Neil Welliver, Robert Rauschenberg and Chuck Close.

Colby’s Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Art of Alex Katz is one of only a handful of museum wings in the nation dedicated to the work of a living artist. The 9,000-square-foot Lunder Wing features 13 individual galleries of 18th-, 19th- and early 20th-century American art and the John Marin retrospective collection of 52 paintings, watercolors, drawings and etchings.

Recent installations at the museum include Richard Serra’s 4-5-6, a sculpture commissioned for the museum’s courtyard, and Sol LeWitt’s Seven Walls, designed for the museum and donated by the artist. The museum also has been selected to house the print archives of American artist Terry Winters.

Note: A digital photo of Daniel Rosenfeld can be obtained from Alicia MacLeay (anmaclea@colby.edu or 207-872-3220) or by clicking on the image above to get a high resolution image to download.