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Fahy, Everett, Jr.

    Image Credit: Fondazione Federico Zeri

    Full Name: Fahy, Everett, Jr.

    Other Names:

    • Everett Philip Fahy, Jr.

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1941

    Date Died: 2018

    Place Born: Darby, Delaware, PA, USA

    Place Died: Davis, Yolo, CA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Florentine, Italian (culture or style), Italian Renaissance-Baroque styles, museums (institutions), and Renaissance

    Career(s): directors (administrators) and museum directors

    Institution(s): Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frick Collection


    Frick Collection Director, 1973-1986 and John Pope-Hennessy Chair of the department of European paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986-2009. Fahy (pronounced “Fay”), born to Everett Fahy, Sr. and Dorothy Jermaka (Fahy), was raised in Philadelphia, PA. While an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, Fahy met his future chair namesake, John Pope-Hennessy in North Carolina. After graduation in 1962 he traveled to Europe where Pope-Hennessy suggested he study Domenico Ghirlandio. Fahy entered Harvard for his graduate work, studying under Sydney Joseph Freedberg and Federico Zeri. He received the National Gallery of Art’s David H. Finley fellowship in 1964, named for the Museum’s first director, David Finley allowing him travel in Europe. In Italy, armed with a Villa I Tatti Fellowship, he used the great library of Bernard Berenson, still administrated by Berenson’s secretary/mistress, Elisabetta “Nicky” Mariano (1887-1968). He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968 writing on Ghirlandio’s followers under James S. Ackerman. Fahy was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton. He was appointed a consultant to the Department of European Paintings in 1968, followed by a teaching appointment to New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1969 (through 1976). He joined the Metropolitan Museum of art as curator-in-charge in 1970. At the Metropolitan Fahy was charged with reinstalling the paintings collection–which entailed relabling the collection to conform to the reattributions by scholars such as Zeri. He also mounted the successful 1969 exhibition on Italian frescos. While curator of painting, director Thomas Hoving and curator of European Art Theodore Rousseau, Jr., authorized the sale of two paintings, van Gogh and a Dounier Rousseau paintings to a private dealer, austensibly without his knowledge, in 1971. Fahy resigned from the Met in 1973 to head the Frick Collection, New York, at the death of Harry D. M. Grier. At the Frick, Fahy oversaw the expansion of the museum and spearheaded the Museum’s brand of small but highly scholarly exhibitions. In 1986, after the replacement of Hoving, he returned to the Metropolitan as the Chair of European Paintings, succeeding Pope-Hennessy. Fahy himself was succeeded at the Frick by Charles Ryskamp. He remained at the Met as Chair until his retirement in 2009, succeeded by Keith Christiansen. He died due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandjo. Harvard University, 1968, published, New York: Garland, 1976; edited, The Wrightsman Pictures. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973; The Legacy of Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Paintings from Leningrad. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1979; “A History of the Portrait and its Painter.” in Rousseau, Theodore. Juan de Pareja by Diego Velázquez: an Appreciation of the Portrait. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, l97; Metropolitan Flowers. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Abrams, 1982.


    Shirey, David L. “Everett Fahy of the Met Is Named Frick Director.” New York Times May 20, 1973, p. 63; Fahy, Everett. “Preface.” Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandjo. New York: Garland, 1976; Russell, John. “New Head of European Art at Met.” New York Times July 31, 1986, p. C16; [obituaries] Sandomir, Richard. “Everett Fahy, Museum Authority on European Painting, Is Dead at 77”.  New York Times.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Fahy, Everett, Jr.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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