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Arts institute loses director to NYC museum

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is losing its director and president to The Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

William M. Griswold told the MIA Board of Trustees Wednesday that he is resigning to become director of the New York museum early next year. Griswold, a curator and head of the department of drawings and prints at the Morgan from 1995 to 2001, has been with the MIA since October 2005.

To ensure a smooth transition, Griswold will remain at the MIA through Jan. 31 and will assume his new position with the Morgan on March 4, the MIA said in a news release.

Griswold, 46, said the decision was "extremely difficult" because he loves the Minneapolis museum and admires its staff and board.

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"But the opportunity to return to the great institution where I cut my teeth, and for which I have extraordinary affection, was something I couldn’t turn down," he said.

"I know this was not an easy decision for Bill to make," said MIA board Chairman Alfred Harrison. "However, the MIA has benefited enormously from his energetic leadership over the last two years, both in helping us meet our $100 million capital campaign goal and in providing a vision of excellence throughout the museum. We regret his departure ... and wish him every success."

The MIA board will appoint a committee to lead the search for a new director and hopes to have someone in place by late fall.

Griswold said he was approached by board members from the Morgan who were looking for a successor to Charles Pierce, who is retiring.

The Morgan, which opened in 1924, originally was designed to house the private library and art collection of New York financier Pierpont Morgan.

The museum is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of artistic, literary, musical, and historical works. Its holdings include drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Cezanne; medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; three Gutenberg Bibles; original scores by Mozart and Beethoven; literary manuscripts by Dickens and Twain; and 5,000-year-old Near Eastern carvings.

The Morgan recently reopened after the largest expansion in its history, with a $106 million building project designed by architect Renzo Piano.

"I look forward to making its remarkable collections even more accessible to an even larger audience," Griswold said.

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While with the MIA, Griswold oversaw the museum’s 113,000-square-foot expansion and launched the public phase of a $100 million capital campaign to support the expansion and to endow acquisition funds.

Griswold also oversaw acquisitions for the permanent collection that include an 18th century masterpiece by French court painter Alexander Roslin, a rare bronze memorial head from the kingdom of Benin, and the MIA’s first historic automobile, a 1946 Czech Tatra.

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