J. Carter Brown, the director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington for the past 22 years and one of the most visible figures on the national art scene, will retire by the end of the year, it was announced yesterday.
Mr. Brown, 57, said he was retiring to devote more time to his family and his many other cultural and educational activities.
The third and longest-serving director of the 51-year-old institution, Mr. Brown was appointed in 1969 when only 34 years old. He has piloted the gallery through major changes including the addition of the East Building by I. M. Pei; a tremendous increase in attendance, budget ($3.2 million to $52.3 million) and endowment ($34 million to $186 million); a greatly increased exhibitions program and the addition of about 20,000 works of art to the gallery's collections.
Among the collections the gallery captured during his tenure is that of Robert and Jane Meyerhoff of Phoenix, who own one of the world's greatest private collections of postwar American art. In 1987 it was announced that they would eventually donate the collection to the gallery, although under the arrangement at least part of it will remain at their estate.