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Brimmer, Martin

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Brimmer, Martin

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1829

    Date Died: 1896

    Place Born: Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA

    Place Died: Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States


    First director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Brimmer was the son of Martin Brimmer, a former mayor of Boston. He entered Harvard University at age 16, graduating in the class of 1849. Although he obtained a law degree, Brimmer never practiced and was exempted from military service because of lameness. Instead, he served politics as a representative for the Massachusetts legislature in 1859-61 and in the state senate in 1864. Brimmer served the Boston Museum at the same time as Luigi Palma di Cesnola did the rival Metropolitan Museum of Art. Brimmer provided strong contrast in that he was scholarly and conducted museum business with decorum.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Chapman, Minna Timmins. Egypt: three Essays on the History, Religion and Art of Ancient Egypt. Cambridge, MA: Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1892; “The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.” American Architect and Building News 8, no. 256: 206-216;


    Tomkins, Calvin. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2nd. ed. New York: Henry Holt, 1989, p. 81; [obituary:] “Martin Brimmer.” New York Times January 16, 1896, p. 5; Whitehill, Walter Muir. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: A Centennial History. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press/Harvard University, 1970, vol. 1, pp. 11-12.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Brimmer, Martin." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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