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Francis Henry Taylor
Date: American, 1903 - 1957
Biography: Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1940-1955. In 1928 become curator of medieval art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art under Fiske Kimball. In 1931 he left to become the Director of the Worcester Museum of Art, Worceter, MA. Most visionary, Taylor was one of the first to mount temporary exhibitions in the art world in order to entice new visitors to the museum. In 1939 he succeeded the famed Egyptologist Herbert Eustis Winlock as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Taylor was a capable administrator, if eccentric. He watched as the opportunity to fold the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art into the Metropolitan slipped through his fingers. This was partially due to his low opinion of modern art. He frequently referred to the fledgling Museum of Modern Art as "that whorehouse on Fifty-third Street." He disparaged popular notions of museum esthetics, summarized in his 1945 book Babel's Tower. His tenure he greatly increased the size of the education department of the Met. He resigned in 1954 to return as director of the Worcester Museum. He died unexpectedly at age 54 after kidney surgery. Source: Dictionary of Art Historians web site