John Murdoch, director of art collections at Huntington, to retire


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John Murdoch, 66, who oversees the art galleries at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, has announced that he will be retiring in June 2012.

Murdoch arrived at the Huntington in 2002, in time for a period of collection-building and expansion. Early on he oversaw the completion of architect Fred Fisher’s new Erburu Building, designed to create additional space for the display of American art. After that he led a three-year, $20-million renovation and re-installation of the Huntington mansion, the Italianate villa that houses celebrated British paintings by Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds (above) as well as European decorative arts and furniture.


Known for his connoisseurship, Murdoch was hands-on in the placement of every artwork and choice of every wall color in the villa, which reopened to wide acclaim in 2008. Huntington President Steve S. Koblik said in a statement that “his remarkable leadership in restoring the historic Huntington residence and creating a coherent display of European art collections can only be described as awe inspiring.”

Murdoch joined the Huntington after nine years as the gallery director at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Currently based in Pasadena, he says he is considering a return to London.


Loosening up the Huntington
$100-million plus cash gift will be Huntington’s largest-ever
A renovated Huntington art gallery
--Jori Finkel