Edgar Munhall, art historian and the influential first curator of the Frick Collection in New York, passed away on October 17 at the age of 83, according to The New York Times.
During his 35 years as Curator Emeritus of the Frick Collection, Dr. Munhall organized or contributed to the mounting of nearly 30 memorable exhibitions. His work curation of exhibitions to showcase French painters in particular, such as Greuze, Fragonard, and Ingres secured him a large following in France and among local Francophiles.
Dr. Munhall was considered a preeminent scholar of 18th-century art, and was known as the leading expert on the work of the French painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze. He completed his PhD dissertation on Greuze’s works and in 1976 he organized the first exhibition devoted to the artist. After his official retirement in 1999, Dr. Munhall curated a second exhibition entitled “Greuze the Draftsman” focused on the artist’s drawings, whose catalogue was referred to as a “majestic” achievement by John Russell, the chief art critic for The New York Times.
Dr. Munhall’s discerning eye and eloquent writing were widely recognized in his field. In 1989, the French Minister of Culture named Dr. Munhall Chevalier, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for his contribution to the dissemination and appreciation of French culture, a title which was subsequently elevated to “Officier” in 2002.