~~Harry S. Parker III, former director of the Dallas Museum of Art, has been named Director Emeritus, it was announced today by Walter B. Elcock, President of the Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees. In addition, the Museum announced the naming of a curatorial position after Parker and his wife: The Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Curator of the Arts of the Americas and the Pacific. The position, held by Carol Robbins, a longtime curator of the Dallas Museum of Art, is endowed by Nancy Hamon in honor of Margaret McDermott, and is a gift to the Museum’s Campaign for a New Century.
The Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees will celebrate Parker as Director Emeritus during a private reception Thursday, Jan. 26. The Trustees will also recognize Parker’s many achievements during his tenure, including the Dallas Museum of Art’s move from Fair Park to the Downtown Arts District and securing the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, which recently marked its 20th anniversary in November. Parker, who left the Museum to serve as Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, recently retired.
“The Dallas Museum of Art and the North Texas community are indebted to Harry Parker for his courage and determination to help build what has become a world-class Museum,” Elcock said. “What Harry set in motion during his tenure as director paved the way for the Dallas Museum of Art to achieve greatness. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are proud to be honoring Harry and are pleased he will once again be part of the Dallas Museum of Art.”
Harry S. Parker’s 13-year tenure at the Dallas Museum of Art
Parker served as Director of the Dallas Museum of Art from 1974 to 1987. He is credited with elevating the Dallas Museum of Art to national prominence by securing gifts and purchases for the historic move of the Museum from its Fair Park location to a 210,000-square-foot, $50-million Edward Larrabee Barnes–designed building in the newly conceived Downtown Arts District in 1983. The Dallas Museum of Art, recognized as one of the first modern large-scale museum expansion projects in the country, serves as the anchor of Dallas’s Downtown Arts District, which is the largest cultural district in the United States.
He is also recognized for securing the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, a one-of-a- kind gift of works of more than 1,400 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts objects, which resulted in the building of a special gallery wing. The new wing, also designed by Barnes, re-creates five rooms from Wendy and Emery Reves’ home, Villa La Pausa, in the south of France and displays the art as it was in the villa. It opened at the Dallas Museum of Art in November 1985. At the time, the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection doubled the value of the Dallas Museum of Art’s holdings and more than tripled the number of impressionist and post-impressionist works. It also established the Museum’s entry into the field of decorative arts.
“Harry Parker’s tireless efforts and passion created the foundation for the Dallas Museum of Art to rise to international prominence,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “It has been my pleasure to have Harry as a colleague and a privilege to be able to continue building on his past efforts to help make the Dallas Museum of Art one of the top encyclopedic museums in the nation. The honor that the Board has conferred in naming him Director Emeritus is very richly deserved.”
Harry S. Parker’s support of the Arts of the Americas and the Pacific
The naming of The Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Curator of the Arts of the Americas and the Pacific celebrates Parker’s special dedication to building the DMA’s collection of works from these geographic areas.
As Dallas Museum of Art Director, Parker played a crucial role in the complex negotiations for the exceptional acquisition of the Nora and John Wise Collection in 1976—2,700 pre-Columbian works of art that encompass gold, silver, ceramics, textiles, wood, and stone. The focus of the Wise Collection is primarily the arts of the Central Andes of South America. The objects range in date from about 900 B.C. to A.D. 1500. The acquisition was made possible by the generosity of four Dallas families: Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison, and Nora and John Wise through eventual gifts and bequests.
He also secured numerous other important gifts including the incomparable Maya eccentric flint depicting a crocodile canoe with passengers, the gift of The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. in honor of Mrs. Alex Spence; the masterful Olmec serpentine and cinnabar seated figure with upraised knee, the gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, and The Art Museum League Fund; and the frequently published Maya cylindrical vessel with ritual ballgame scene, gift of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher.
Parker’s support of non-Western art in general represented the beginning of the Museum’s stellar collection of Indonesian regional art and the significant collection of non-Western textiles, including two collections of Maya textiles from Guatemala, one the gift of Carolyn C. and Dan C. Williams, the other the gift of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher.
During his more than 40-year career, Parker has received numerous awards for his work, including the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Art et Lettres and a Martin Luther King Special Appreciation Award. He is a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (1980 – 1981) and was Vice President of the American Association of Museums. He is a trustee emeritus of the San Francisco Art Institute and a member of the Century Association in New York and the Bohemian Club in San Francisco. Upon his retirement, he was elected an Honorary Trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and, in all its vitality, serves as a cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations. The Museum serves more than one-half million visitors a year and offers more than 3,500 education and public programs annually designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.