Pierre Terjanian Named Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge of the Department
(New York, March 12, 2013)—Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, today announced two new appointments within its Department of Arms and Armor. Stuart W. Pyhrr, the current Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge, will assume the newly created position of Distinguished Research Curator, and Pierre Terjanian, currently a Curator in the department, will become the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge. These changes will go into effect on July 1.
Mr. Campbell stated: “I am pleased to announce that, after 25 years of extraordinary accomplishments as head of the Museum’s Department of Arms and Armor, Stuart Pyhrr will transition to a new position as Distinguished Research Curator. Stuart is a devoted scholar who has enhanced the collections and galleries of one of the most treasured areas of the Met. His future research will continue to build on the department’s remarkable 100-year history. I am also delighted to appoint Pierre Terjanian as his successor and look forward to working together with him to continue developing the role of arms and armor at the Museum.”
Stuart W. Pyhrr
Stuart W. Pyhrr began his career with the Metropolitan Museum in 1971 as a fellow and research assistant in the Arms and Armor Department, while pursuing his graduate studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He became Assistant Curator of Arms and Armor in 1977, Associate Curator in 1982, Curator and department head in 1988, and the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge in 1997.
He lectures and publishes extensively in the field of European armor, and has organized or coordinated several major exhibitions including The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (traveled 1982-84); Liechtenstein: The Princely Collections (1985-86); and Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance: Filippo Negroli and his Contemporaries (1998-99), which was named “Exhibition of the Year” by Apollo magazine.
From 1989 to 1991, Mr. Pyhrr supervised the renovation, redesign, and reinstallation of the Metropolitan Museum’s Arms and Armor Galleries—a space of 10,000 square feet in which 1,200 objects are currently displayed—including the creation of two galleries of Japanese arms and armor. During his tenure, the department also organized and presented such major international exhibitions as Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet (2006) and Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156–1868 (2009-2010). Mr. Pyhrr oversaw the creation in 1996 of a new gallery for rotating exhibitions, The Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gallery, which hosts a series of exhibitions drawn from department’s holdings.
The Arms and Armor Department’s collection grew by more than 400 pieces under his leadership. Notable among the gifts and purchases is the diminutive armor made in Paris in 1712 for Prince Luis, the five-year-old heir to the Spanish throne; a gold-encrusted and jeweled Turkish sword (yatagan), ca. 1530, from the court of Suleyman the Magnificent; a number of richly embellished European firearms, including the silver-inlaid flintlock sporting gun of Empress Margarita Teresa of Austria, a Viennese work of ca. 1670 made in the fashionable French taste; and a significantly enhanced series of American arms, among them a gold-inlaid Colt revolver reputedly given to the Sultan of Turkey in 1854, the gold-mounted sword presented by Congress to General John E. Wool in 1854 for his exploits in the Mexican War, and a group of Smith & Wesson revolvers decorated in a variety of silversmithing techniques by Tiffany and Company at the end of the 19th century.
In 2012 the Department of Arms and Armor celebrated its centennial with a thorough refurbishment of the Arms and Armor Galleries, introducing 60 more objects, 1,000 updated labels, and improved lighting, and organizing the exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department. For the centennial, Mr. Pyhrr authored the Museum’s Summer Bulletin on the history of the Arms and Armor Department and an article in the Metropolitan Museum Journal on the Museum’s first major acquisition of arms and armor.
Mr. Pyhrr is currently overseeing the preparation of two major catalogues—one on the department’s outstanding collection of 16th-century English armors made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich, and the other on highlights of the Museum’s extensive holdings of Islamic arms and armor—both of which are scheduled for publication in 2014-15.
Pierre Terjanian has been a Curator in the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Arms and Armor since October 2012. Prior to that, he worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1997, first as an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow of Arms and Armor (1997-2000), and then as Adjunct Associate Curator (2000-2003), Associate Curator (2004-2006), and the J. J. Medveckis Associate Curator (2006-2012), all in the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture before 1700. In his latter role as J. J. Medveckis Associate Curator, he oversaw the museum’s Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection of more than 1,200 outstanding examples of late medieval and Renaissance European arms and armor and related objects. From 2005 to 2012, he was also Acting Head of the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture before 1700, administering the department and overseeing its collection. Among his many activities at the museum, he researched and re-catalogued extensive portions of the arms and armor collection; rediscovered unique, long-lost 16th-century albums of drawings illustrating the works of leading German armorers; reinstalled four permanent galleries for arms and armor; acquired works including rare 16th-century armors for man and horse; prepared a comprehensive, richly illustrated catalogue of 100 highlights of the arms and armor collection that is scheduled for publication in 2014; and lectured widely. A native of Strasbourg, France, he obtained a masters degree in law from Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas, a master of science degree in management from HEC Paris, and a doctoral degree in history from Université de Metz, and has also done graduate study in history at the University of California, Berkeley.
Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum
The Metropolitan Museum received its first examples of arms and armor in 1896, and began to attract international recognition for its holdings in the field after acquiring, by purchase in 1904, a substantial group of Japanese arms and armor as well as a major private collection of European arms and armor. This led to the establishment of the Department of Arms and Armor by the Museum’s Board of Trustees on October 28, 1912. The collection has continued to grow and now ranks with the other great armories of the world, which reside in Vienna, Madrid, Dresden, and Paris.
The Arms and Armor Galleries, which are among the Museum's most popular attractions, display the Museum’s outstanding holdings of armor and weapons of sculptural and ornamental beauty from Europe, North America, the Islamic Middle East, and Asia. In addition to the fine examples of European armor, firearms, and swords, there are on view many spectacular works from the Metropolitan's renowned collection of Japanese arms and armor, the most comprehensive outside Japan. Galleries are also devoted to arms from various Islamic cultures and to American arms from the Colonial era to the late 19th century. The collection, the most encyclopedic in the world, now consists of approximately 15,000 objects that date from the fifth through the 19th century. It encompasses objects ranging from minute ornamental sword fittings to full suits of armor, including a superb series of tournament and parade armors.
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March 12, 2013