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Huntington’s Director of Art Collections to Retire

John Murdoch, who lead the restoration of the Huntington mansion and the growth of the Huntington’s art galleries, has announced his retirement.

The Huntington’s Hannah and Russell Kully Director of Art Collections, John Murdoch, has announced he will retire June 30, 2012 after nine years at his post, the Huntington said in a statement Tuesday.

“His contributions have been absolutely extraordinary,” said Huntington President Steven S. Koblik in a prepared statement. “With the building of the Erburu Gallery, John played a central role in the development of the Scott Galleries of American Art, but most dramatically, his remarkable leadership in restoring the historic Huntington residence and creating a coherent display of the European art collections can only be described as awe inspiring.”

The $20 million-dollar Huntington mansion renovation in 2008 involved updating the nearly 100-year-old building’s infrastructure and new gallery presentations of 1,200 pieces of 15th to early 20th century European art.

Murdoch, who oversees the Huntington’s permanent installations of European and American art and the program of temporary art exhibitions, has helped dramatically expand the institution’s collections during his tenure.

Notable art acquisitions include: Philippe de Champaigne portrait of Jean de Thevenot, sculptor Harriet Hosmer’s colossal "Zenobia in Chains", major works of British and American Arts and Crafts, and "Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle)" by Andy Warhol.

The process of finding Murdoch’s successor will commence in the coming weeks.

What art at the Huntington do you most enjoy? Tell us in the comment box below.

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