Biography and History

Thomas Pearsall Field Hoving (born January 15, 1931) was the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) in New York City from 1967 to 1977 and author of Making the Mummies Dance (1993), a memoir of his experience as MMA director, King of the Confessors (1981), and other books on art-related topics. He graduated from Princeton University in 1953 with an A.B. in Art and Archeology and received a M.F.A in 1958 and Ph.D. in 1960, both also from Princeton. He started his museum career in 1959 as a curatorial assistant at The Cloisters, the medieval European branch of the MMA, and rose to the post of curator there. In 1965, Hoving was appointed the Commissioner of Parks by the Mayor of New York City, John V. Lindsay, and he had served just over one year in the position when he was appointed MMA director in 1967. Some of his main accomplishments as director included the implementation and overseeing of a master plan of renovation that encompassed the museum's facade, main entrance, and expansion into Central Park; high-profile acquisitions such as the Temple of Dendur from Egypt, the controversial Euphronios krater (repatriated to Italy in 2008 under a legal agreement negotiated between MMA and the Italian government), and paintings by Diego Velázquez ("Juan de Pareja") and Claude Monet ("Garden at Sainte-Adresse"); and the organizing and popularization of blockbuster exhibitions, best exemplified by "Treasures of Tutankhamun." In 1977, Hoving founded his own consulting firm, Hoving Associates, and he was the editor-in-chief of Connoisseur magazine from 1981 to 1991. Hoving also was a correspondent for the ABC television newsmagazine 20/20 from 1978 to 1984. Hoving died of lung cancer on December 10, 2009, at his home in New York City.

Source: From the finding aid for C1312

  • Thomas Hoving Papers. 1952-1998 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1312

    Consists of material relating to the career of Thomas Hoving, who was director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from 1967 to 1977, author, consultant, and the editor-in-chief of Connoisseur magazine from 1981 to 1991.