Edgar Peters Bowron, the Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art, to Retire from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, After Nearly 20 Years

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 12/18/2014, 5:28 p.m.
Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, today announced the retirement of Edgar Peters Bowron, the Audrey ...
Dr. Edgar Peters Bowron, the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston’s longtime and distinguished curator of European art, will retire at the end of the month.

HOUSTON—December 17, 2014—Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, today announced the retirement of Edgar Peters Bowron, the Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art, at the end of this year. During 18 years at the Museum, Dr. Bowron has overseen the prestigious John A. and Audrey Jones Beck Collection of Impressionist and Post- Impressionist paintings; the Samuel H. Kress and Edith A. and Percy S. Straus Collections of European Old Masters; and the Museum’s wide-ranging collection of European art from the Middle Ages to 1900.

Since joining the staff in 1996, Dr. Bowron has strengthened the Museum’s collection of European art with the acquisition of such masterpieces as Still Life of Flowers and Fruit (c. 1715) by Jan van Huysum; Saint James the Greater (c. 1636–38) by Guido Reni; The Gust of Wind (c. 1865) by Gustave Courbet; Portrait of a Young Woman (1633) by Rembrandt van Rijn; and The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas (c. 1712–14) by Francesco Solimena. He has organized with colleagues in Houston and abroad a variety of important exhibitions including The Splendor of Rome: The 18th Century (2000); Bernardo Bellotto and the Capitals of Europe (2001); Best in Show: The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to Today (2006); Pompeo Batoni: Prince of Painters in Eighteenth- Century Rome (2007); Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century (2011); and Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland (2011).

“One of Pete Bowron’s most important achievements in Houston was the intelligent and sensitive installation of Old Master paintings for the inauguration of the Audrey Jones Beck Building in 2000,” said Tinterow. “Never before had the full breadth of European painting from the Renaissance to the early modern era been presented in our galleries. Fortunately, we will be able to enjoy for many years to come the principal acquisitions he brought to the Museum’s collection.

“A leading specialist in Roman painting of the 18th century, Pete organized memorable exhibitions in his area of expertise, including a presentation of major works by Pompeo Batoni in 2007,” continued Tinterow. “Many of us look forward to the forthcoming publication of his definitive catalogue of Batoni’s work, to which Pete has devoted the last years of his tenure at the Museum. I am very proud that the Museum has been able to support this important contribution to scholarship.”

“One of the highlights in my professional career was the opportunity to serve for 15 years under the leadership of the late Peter C. Marzio,” said Dr. Bowron. “It has been a great privilege to work with a curatorial team that oversees an outstanding permanent collection and stages significant, often groundbreaking exhibitions.”

Dr. Bowron came to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where he had served as the Andrew W. Mellon Senior Consultative Curator (1991–92) and Senior Curator of Paintings (1992–96). He had previously been the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director and Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University Art Museums (1985–90) and director of the North Carolina Museum of Art (1981–85). In his extensive career, Dr. Bowron has also held positions at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He received his MA and PhD in the history of art from New York University in 1969 and 1979, respectively.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools, and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and spans the art of antiquity to the present.

For more information, visit mfah.org