Release Date: October 19, 2007
National Gallery of Art Trustees Appoint Frederick W. Beinecke as New Trustee; John Wilmerding Becomes Chairman, and John C. Fontaine Becomes Trustee Emeritus
Washington, DC—Following the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art in late September 2007, Gallery President Victoria P. Sant announced that Frederick W. Beinecke was elected as a new trustee. He succeeds John C. Fontaine, chairman of the board, who became trustee emeritus and was awarded the National Gallery of Art Medal for Distinguished Service. John Wilmerding became chairman of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees.
Frederick W. Beinecke
Since 2004, Beinecke has been a member of the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, a director and president of The Sperry Fund, and a director of The Prospect Hill Foundation. He serves as a trustee of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, where he chairs its Research and Academic Program Committee. He is president of the New York City Ballet and has been a director since 1978, with two interruptions. Since 1981, he has been a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he is a member of the Executive Committee and was co-chair of the International Conservation Committee. From 1981 to 2000, he served as a trustee of Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, where he was treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee.
Beinecke is president and director of Antaeus Enterprises, Inc., a private investment company in New York. Until it was acquired recently, he was chairman of the board of Catalina Marketing Corporation. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Venture Investment Associates and was formerly a director and president of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company in New York.
Beinecke attended Yale University, earning a B.A. in 1966; in 1972 he earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. He served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1966 to 1969, attaining the rank of captain. He was decorated with the Bronze Star for service during 1968 in Vietnam.
Beinecke is a member of the Bar of the state of New York and a resident of New York City, where he lives with his wife Candace. They have two sons, Jake and Ben.
John Wilmerding, a widely published and respected authority on American art, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art in 2005. He announced the donation of his collection of 19th-century American art to the Gallery while it was on view in the Gallery’s exhibition American Masters from Bingham to Eakins: The John Wilmerding Collection, from May 9, 2004 through February 6, 2005. The collection of 51 works represents such masters as George Caleb Bingham, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Eakins, William Stanley Haseltine, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Fitz Hugh Lane, John Marin, John F. Peto, and William Trost Richards. Previously Wilmerding donated The Chaperone (c. 1908) by Thomas Eakins on the occasion of the Gallery’s 50th anniversary in 1991.
Born in Boston in 1938, Wilmerding comes from a family with a rich history of art collecting. Wilmerding’s great-grandparents, Henry Osborne Havemeyer and his second wife Louisine Waldron Havemeyer, amassed an extraordinary group of European and Asian works of art that was eventually bequeathed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Electra Havemeyer Webb (Wilmerding’s grandmother), assembled a remarkable and vast collection of folk art that was the genesis of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, which she founded in 1947.
Following completion of his doctorate in art history from Harvard University, Wilmerding began teaching at Dartmouth College. In 1977 he came to work at the National Gallery of Art, initially as its curator of American art and senior curator. He served as deputy director from 1983 to 1988. In 1980 Wilmerding organized the landmark exhibition, American Light: The Luminist Movement. During his tenure, the Gallery’s department of American art was created and important works were acquired, including Jasper Francis Cropsey’s The Spirit of War (1851), Lane’s Lumber Schooners at Evening on Penobscot Bay (1863), Heade’s Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds (1871), and Rembrandt Peale’s Rubens Peale with a Geranium (1801).
In 1988 Wilmerding returned to full-time teaching at Princeton University, where he is currently the Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 Professor of American Art Emeritus. In addition he is formerly the visiting curator of the department of American art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is the recipient of numerous awards in art history and education.
John C. Fontaine
John (Jack) C. Fontaine has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art since 2003 and was its chair from 2006 to 2007. He has been a member of the Gallery’s Trustees’ Council intermittently from 1984 to the present and served as its chair from 2003 to 2006. He and his wife Betty, who reside in New York City, have supported such Gallery initiatives as the 50th Anniversary Gift Committee, the New Century Fund, and the Circle. They are collectors of American, Asian, and Latin American art and decorative objects.
Fontaine was chairman of The Samuel H. Kress Foundation from 1994 to 2006 and a member of its board from 1975 to 2006. The foundation is associated with The Kress Collection of European art that was assembled by Samuel H. Kress and the Kress Foundation between 1927 and 1961. Of the more than 3,000 works donated to more than 90 museums in the United States, Puerto Rico, and France, 1,800 works came to the National Gallery of Art. The Foundation has also funded many Gallery acquisitions and initiatives in conservation as well as fellowships at the Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.
A graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School, Fontaine was president of Knight Ridder, a major newspaper company, and a member of its board of directors. Following his retirement from Knight Ridder, he rejoined the New York law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, where he had been managing partner and represented major companies in significant transactions as well as an advisor on governance and strategy. He currently serves as senior counsel.
Board of Trustees
The members of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art are The Chief Justice of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, John Wilmerding, Victoria P. Sant, Mitchell P. Rales, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, and Frederick W. Beinecke.
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