Matthew Teitelbaum Appointed Director of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

BOSTON, MA (April 9, 2015)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), today announced that Matthew Teitelbaum has been appointed its Ann and Graham Gund Director. Teitelbaum, who is currently the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, succeeds Malcolm Rogers, who will retire when Teitelbaum assumes his role at the MFA on August 3, 2015.

Formally elected at a special meeting of the MFA’s Board of Trustees earlier today, Teitelbaum becomes the 11th director in the MFA’s 145-year history. He was selected after an international search overseen by a committee appointed by the Board.

“Matthew’s vision for how art can change lives and his advocacy for appreciation of the arts across cultures and eras makes him the right person to serve as the next leader of the MFA,” stated Lisbeth Tarlow, Chair of the MFA’s Board of Trustees. “His commitment to community enrichment and global engagement—both inside and outside the galleries—has produced remarkable results in public service, education, patronage, and support. Throughout his decades of experience, he has done an outstanding job in growing and diversifying audiences, strategically building collections, and establishing strong platforms for vigorous scholarship.”

Teitelbaum was appointed Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 1998 after having first joined the museum in 1993 as Chief Curator. With a vision to transform the Gallery into an institution of global stature serving a vibrant city and region, Teitelbaum significantly grew the museum’s collections, broadened its audiences, increased its research initiatives, and raised its standing to unprecedented levels. Starting in 2002, Teitelbaum spearheaded a major expansion and renovation of the museum, realized by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry, which encompassed a 47 percent increase in gallery and exhibition space and a complete refurbishment of its existing beaux arts building. Teitelbaum was instrumental in securing a landmark $100 million (CAD) gift from collector and business leader Ken Thomson to complete the museum’s $306 million campaign—surpassing its original $276 million goal. The campaign also funded endowments for operations and contemporary art acquisitions. 

“It is an honor to be selected to serve as the next Director of the Museum of Fine Arts,” said Teitelbaum. “The MFA has a long legacy of distinguished leadership—people who believed that art can change the world, and that art changes lives and is shaped by the community in which it lives. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on such a strong foundation established by Malcolm, his staff and volunteers, and the MFA’s Board, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to cultivate the MFA’s continued growth and evolution.”

During his tenure, the AGO’s collection experienced unprecedented growth. Gifts and acquisitions included the renowned Thomson collections of Canadian and European art, as well as European devotional sculpture, ivories, carvings, and historical ship models, which accompanied the family’s monetary support of the AGO’s transformation. Other major gifts included the Murray Frum collection of African art; the Gotlieb collection of prints by James Tissot and Andre Masson; significant collections of photography; the Frick-Eggert Archive of more than 300 works on paper; and major works by such artists as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Maurice Denis, Kara Walker, Vincent van Gogh, Rodney Graham, Mona Hatoum, Mike Kelley, Fernand Leger, Gerhardt Richter, and Doris Salcedo.

Throughout his tenure at the AGO, Teitelbaum has partnered with major international museums, including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Musée d’Orsay, and the State Hermitage Museum, among others. Notable exhibitions organized under his leadership include Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time (2015), the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in Canada, which is currently on view at the AGO; Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty (2014); Ai Weiwei: According to What? (2013); Picasso: Masterpieces from Musée National, Paris (2012), a rare glimpse into the artist’s personal collection; King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs (2009); and Turner, Whistler, Monet: Impressionist Visions (2004).

“The search committee was impressed with Matthew’s accomplishments at the AGO, and with the energy and vision that he will bring to the MFA,” noted Sandra Moose, President of the MFA’s Board of Trustees. “He has truly redefined the AGO from top to bottom—both its infrastructure and, more importantly, the Gallery’s role as a home for art, the exchange of ideas, and an outstanding cultural resource for its community and country.” 

Prior to joining the AGO, Teitelbaum held curatorial positions with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and the London Regional Art Gallery in London, Ontario. In 2006, he received the honor of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his ongoing commitment and contributions to the arts; in 2008, he received the RCA medal from the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts for his outstanding support to the development of the visual arts in Canada, and in 2009, he was awarded the Canadian Centre for Diversity’s Human Relations Award and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) Award for arts leadership.

A scholar of contemporary, European, and Canadian art, Teitelbaum holds a bachelor of arts with honors in Canadian history from Carleton University, a master of philosophy in modern European painting and sculpture from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. He has taught at Harvard University, York University, and the University of Western Ontario, and has lectured internationally. Among the publications Teitelbaum has authored and edited are Giuseppe Penone: The Hidden Life Within (Black Dog, 2013); Paterson Ewen (Douglas & McIntyre, 1996); and Montage and Modern Life: 1919-1942 (MIT Press, 1992).

In addition to his academic pursuits, Teitelbaum is actively involved in a range of arts organizations. He serves as a member of the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization and as the Vice Chair of the International Group of Organizers of Large Scale Exhibitions. He is a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and chair of its nominating and governance committee. He and his wife, Susan Cohen, have two sons.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Matthew, whom I’ve known for years. I have great admiration for his many achievements at the AGO” said Malcolm Rogers. “Under his leadership, the AGO has experienced much success—from its building addition designed by Frank Gehry to engaging new audiences through innovative programs. I am so pleased that the Museum of Fine Arts will be in such capable hands as it continues its mission of bringing art and people together.”

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, welcomes more than one million visitors each year, including 250,000 to its education and community programs. One of the largest privately funded museums in the world, the MFA has experienced significant growth in recent years. A campaign, which raised over $500 million, made possible a transformational building renovation and expansion (totaling $345 million), highlighted by the Art of the Americas Wing (53 galleries, 5,000 works) and a soaring glass courtyard. Renovations continued in 2011 when the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, located in the Museum’s I.M. Pei wing, was completed, tripling its display of contemporary art. In total, more than 100 of the Museum’s 147 galleries have been built or renovated over the past 7 years.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Founded in 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, an estimated 500,000 works that span all cultures and time periods. The Museum’s collection encompasses: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. The Museum offers countless education and public programs each year, including cultural celebrations and free community days. Located on Boston’s Avenue of the Arts, the Museum is open seven days a week. For more information, go to