Dr. Sylvia L. Yount, Chief Curator and the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will be joining the staff of New York’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art this September as the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of The American Wing.
During her 7-year tenure at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Yount has brought a greater profile to the American art collection, strengthening it with major purchases and gifts that encompass a wide range of media and artists, especially women and artists of color. Under her direction, the active and highly productive department—with a broad and deep patron base—became well-known for its creative displays, nuanced scholarship, and engaging and accessible interpretations that speak to diverse audiences. In addition to presenting exhibitions on the work of the Anglo-American printmaker Clare Leighton and the celebrated African American modernist Jacob Lawrence, Yount has provided leadership as Chief Curator for the museum’s 9 collecting areas. She is presently organizing a major exhibition for VMFA on the Colonial Revival phenomenon—Making America: Myth, Memory, Identity— opening in Fall 2015.
“I am extremely pleased for Sylvia and I am not surprised that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has chosen her for this highly prestigious appointment,” VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said. “This can only be described as the best posting in American Art in the world. I speak for everyone at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts when I say that we are tremendously proud of Sylvia and wish her all the best as she takes on this dream job.”
Yount said: “It has been a genuine pleasure and privilege to lead VMFA’s esteemed American Art department and serve as an advocate for the broader curatorial division. The opportunity to work with extraordinary collections, talented and devoted colleagues, and deeply generous supporters was unparalleled, and I’m very proud of what we’ve built together over the past seven years. I have been truly enriched—both professionally and personally—by my time at VMFA, and look forward to bringing that expanded perspective to my new position at the Met.”
Before coming to Richmond, Yount, a noted American art scholar, was the Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art and Department Head at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from 2001 to 2007. Prior to that she served on the staff of Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as Curator of Collections (1993-99) and Chief Curator (1999-2001). In addition to her landmark exhibitions and publications on American modernism, Maxfield Parrish, and Cecilia Beaux, produced in Philadelphia and Atlanta, Yount oversaw pivotal reinstallations of the American holdings at the Pennsylvania Academy, the High Museum of Art, and VMFA.
Yount received a Ph.D. and a M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Italian from New York University. She has lectured and published widely on late 19th and 20th-century American art and culture, as well as on issues of curatorial responsibility and current museum practice.
About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.