Perry T. Rathbone

Perry T. Rathbone (1911–2000) was one of the leading American art museum directors of the twentieth century. After organizing the “Masterpieces of Art” exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, Rathbone was appointed director of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1940. In 1955, he became director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston until his retirement in 1972. During his more than three decades at the MFA, Rathbone expanded the museum by 80,000 square feet, doubled its staff, and directed the renovation of 57 of its 189 galleries. He staged exhibitions of Rembrandt, Matisse, Modigliani, Cezanne, van Gogh and Courbet. Rathbone transformed the museum from a quiet repository of art to a vibrant cultural center.