A sad day for Philly – RIP Anne d’Harnoncourt

As you may have already heard, director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Anne d’Harnoncourt, died at her home last night. She was 64 years old.

D’Harnoncourt had been with the Museum in various capacities since 1972 and her death is a real loss for anyone and everyone involved with the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. She had been the leader of the museum since 1982.

The Philadelphia Daily News has reactions from various civic leaders who worked with or knew d’Harnoncourt closely, including Mayor Michael Nutter:

“I just heard about this an hour ago and I am stunned,” Mayor Nutter said this morning. He called d’Harnoncourt “just a tremendous person, full of life.”

“It’s a tremendous loss for the city and the region and the art world in general,” Nutter said. “Anne could have worked anywhere she wanted. We were fortunate to have her.”

The Daily News also found an interview that they had done with d’Harnoncourt back in 1976 in which she talked about her childhood as the daughter of an Austrian nobleman and museum director:

“So many of my friends were in the situation of being dragged to museums as small children. And in that sense I was very lucky, because I sort of assumed that museums were where you always went. The other thing my family was crazy about in any city was the zoo. I feel very lucky to be in a city that has a good museum and a good zoo.”

This city, the one with the good museum and a good zoo, remembers with fondness a great museum director. Feel free to offer your own memories of d’Harnoncourt and her time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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