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Marceau, Henri

    Full Name: Marceau, Henri

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1896

    Date Died: 1969

    Place Born: Richmond, VA, USA

    Place Died: Germantown, Adams, PA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre) and sculpture (visual works)


    Marceau graduated from Columbia Architecture School in 1921. A Prix de Rome enabled him to study at the American Academy in Rome for three years. Upon returning to the United States he married Rebecca Alvord. In 1926 he was named an instructor of architectural design at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1929 he left the University to become the curator the magnificent art collection amassed by the Philadelphia lawyer John G. Johnson (1841-1917), which Johnson had left to the city at his death in 1917, succeeding the first curator Edward Hamilton Bell who had died that year. In 1933 the collection was moved to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Marceau accompanied the donation now with the title assistant director of the Museum. In 1937 he mounted the major exhibition on the major American sculptor William Rush. Marceau was named Associate Director in 1945. He worked closely with the bombastic director of the Museum, Fiske Kimball. Among his acquisitions, Marceau was key in obtaining the studio of Thomas Eakins from the artist’s widow, resulting in the Museum becoming the largest holder of that artist’s work. In 1955 he succeeded Kimball as director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He retired in 1964 and was succeeded by Evan H. Turner. He died in a Germantown, PA, nursing home.

    Selected Bibliography

    “Roman Methods of Working and Handling Stones as Exemplified on the Temple of Concord. (Augustan Temple).” in, Rebert, Homer F. The Temple of Concord in the Roman Forum. American Academy in Rome. Memoirs. Bergamo: American Academy in Rome,1925, pp. 53-77; William Rush, 1756-1833, the First Native American Sculptor. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Museum of Art, 1937; and Cott, Perry Blythe. The Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting. Philadelphia: Worcester Art Museum/Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1939.


    [obituary:] “Henri Marceau. Museum Aid Dies, Ex-Director in Philadelphia Renaissance Authority.” New York Times September 16, 1969. p. 47. “Henri Marceau.” Bulletin of the American Group. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works 10 no. 1 (October 1969): 9.


    "Marceau, Henri." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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