Christopher Monkhouse, Renowned Curator, Remembered

  • March 04, 2021 12:50

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Christopher Monkhouse. Robert P. Ruschak photo

Morrison Heckscher, Curator Emeritus of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, writes for Apollo Magazine:

"With the death of Christopher Monkhouse (b. 1947), after a brief illness, on 12 January 2021, the Anglo-American decorative arts and architecture world has lost one of its most highly accomplished and beloved members. Christopher was a perfect exemplar of the old-fashioned, object-obsessed curator. Over some 40 years Christopher led three of the most important decorative arts departments in American museums –  in Providence (RISD), Minneapolis, and Chicago – in each instance excelling in the curatorial bread and butter of acquisitions, installations and special exhibitions."

Carnegie Museum of Art wrote on Facebook, “We are saddened by the passing of Christopher Monkhouse, the founding curator of the Heinz Architectural Center. While at Carnegie Museum of Art from 1991 to 1995, Monkhouse set the foundation for an architecture program that continues today with an ever-growing collection exceeding 6,000 objects. Throughout his career, Monkhouse’s held curatorial positions at Brown, RISD, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. His life and work had a significant impact on how architecture is understood and appreciated.”

Monkhouse settled in Brunswick, Maine, upon retirement in 2017. From the Portland Press Herald: "A man of boundless intellectual curiosity and energy, Christopher merged his interests in poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a fellow Portland native, and the culture of the American Midwest in the 2004 exhibition Currents of Change: Art and Life Along the Mississippi River, 1850-1861. He became Eloise W. Martin Curator and chair of the department of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. In 2015 he curated the Institute’s acclaimed Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840."

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