Art Collector Eugene V. Thaw Endows Curatorial Position at the Morgan Library & Museum

New York, NY, June 13, 2014—The Morgan Library & Museum announced today that noted drawings collector Eugene V. Thaw, a life trustee of the Morgan and longtime supporter, will endow a curatorial position in the Department of Drawings and Prints.

Since 1975 Mr. Thaw has given the museum more than four hundred master drawings from his private collection and generously contributed to numerous projects and programs. The drawings department at the Morgan is one of its largest, and the institution’s collection is considered among the greatest in the world. Spanning the early Renaissance to the twenty-first century, it includes masterworks from every era and every school.

Jennifer Tonkovich will be the first to hold the new position, to be named the Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints. Ms. Tonkovich joined the drawings department in 1998. During her tenure, she has organized numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions, contributed important scholarship in the field, and managed a variety of special projects for the Morgan, including oversight of a series of rotating installations in the museum’s historic McKim building.

In addition to the gift of his drawings, Mr. Thaw has helped underwrite the Morgan’s Drawing Institute, a 2011 initiative to support research in the drawings field and to nurture new generations of scholars and curators. He also made the lead donation to the Morgan’s Thaw Conservation Center; contributed jointly to the Morgan and the Metropolitan Museum of Art a superb collection of oil sketches; gave the Morgan a collection of early medieval jeweled objects now on display in the North Room of the McKim building; and generously supported the institution’s 2006 expansion designed by Renzo Piano. A gallery on the first floor of the museum is named in honor of Mr. Thaw’s wife, Clare. 

“Gene Thaw’s extraordinary contributions to the Morgan over the decades have quite literally reshaped the institution,” said William M. Griswold, Director of the museum. “But his special focus is drawings, the field that he so loves. We are deeply grateful to him for this latest gift to the department and are honored to name the curatorial position after Gene and his wife, Clare. We are also pleased that Jennifer Tonkovich will be the first to hold the position as she has worked closely with Mr. Thaw on many of his projects.”

The Morgan has organized five exhibitions based on Mr. Thaw’s collection, the most recent in 2009. In 2007, the museum presented a highly popular exhibition of twenty illustrated letters composed by Vincent van Gogh that Mr. Thaw gave to the institution. Currently, the Morgan has on view a selection of his oil sketch sky studies. Ms. Tonkovich curated the van Gogh letters exhibition and both oil sketch shows.

“It has been the great good fortune of my career to work closely with Gene Thaw, whom I admire tremendously as a collector and connoisseur,” said Ms. Tonkovich. “I have learned so much from him and from working with his exceptional and wide ranging collections. I am deeply honored to be the inaugural Thaw Curator.”

The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding in 1906, the Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. In October 2010, the Morgan completed the first-ever restoration of its original McKim building, Pierpont Morgan’s private library, and the core of the institution. In tandem with the 2006 expansion project by architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan now provides visitors unprecedented access to its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets.

Auction Guide