Munhall, Edgar 1933–
Munhall, Edgar 1933–
PERSONAL: Born March 14, 1933, in Pittsburgh, PA; son of Walter (an engineer) and Anna (a teacher; maiden name, Burns) Munhall. Education: Yale University, B.A. (with high honors), 1955, Ph.D., 1959; New York University, M.A., 1957; also attended Arts Student League. Religion: Episcopalian.
CAREER: Writer and professor. Yale University, New Haven, CT, instructor, 1959–64, assistant professor, 1964–65, assistant curator of prints and drawings at the university art gallery, 1959–64; Frick Collection, New York, NY, curator, 1965–99; organized touring exhibit of drawings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 2002. Columbia University, New York, NY, adjunct professor, 1979, 1981; du, contributing editor, 1980–84; lecturer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Decorated Chevalier, 1989, Decorated Officier, 2002, French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; Phi Beta Kappa.
Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville, Frick Collection (New York, NY), 1985.
Whistler and Montesquiou: The Butterfly and the Bat, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Susan Grace Galassi and Ashley Thomas) The Frick Collection: A Tour, Scala Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Greuze the Draftsman (exhibition catalog), Merrell (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Apollo, Arts Quarterly, Burlington Magazine, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, and L'Oeil. Author of exhibition catalogs. Prime author of the "ArtPhone" INFORM tour by Acoustiguide, 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: An aspiring artist who found his niche in art history early in life, Edgar Munhall was the first curator of the Frick Collection of major works in Western art and held that position for nearly thrity-five years. Before his retirement from the Frick Collection, Munhall played a role in the major acquisitions purchased by the collection and organized some of its special exhibitions.
After his departure in 1999, Munhall organized a touring exhibit of drawings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, a popular and highly regarded eighteenth-century French painter, and wrote the accompanying catalog, Greuze the Draftsman. Munhall had become a recognized expert on Greuze after writing his Ph.D. dissertation on him in the late 1950s. Though Greuze was primarily a portrait artist and genre painter, he also created many drawings. Some of these drawings were studies used in preparation for paintings; others were created as independent works of art. In addition to detailing the background and importance of many of Greuze's drawings, Munhall also includes an introduction to Greuze as well as a short biography in Greuze the Draftsman. Praising the comprehensive nature of the book, Katherine Rook Lieber wrote in a review published on ArtScope.net, "Greuze the Draftsman represents the cream of fine art books: superb works, solid scholarship, and a subtle excellence of graphic layout that presents both at their elegant best."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1995, Donna Seaman, review of Whister and Montesquiou: The Butterfly and the Bat, p. 1465.
Library Journal, November 15, 2002, Sandra Rothenberg, review of Greuze the Draftsman, p. 69.
New York Times Book Review, June 4, 1995, John Russell, review of Whister and Montesquiou, p. 20.
ArtScope.net, http://www.artscope.net/ (April 17, 2003), Katherine Rooke Lieber, review of Greuze the Draftsman.
Frick Collection Web site, http://www.frick.org/ (April 17, 2003), "Edgar Munhall, the First Curator of the Frick Collection, Retires; Edgar Munhall Organizes a Touring Exhibition of Drawings by Greuze to Open at the Frick Collection in 2002," biography of Edgar Munhall.