Someone with strong ties to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco told me today that he had it on good authority that Colin Bailey, who is deputy director and curator at the Frick Collection, New York, is soon to be officially named as director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. I have tonight confirmed this with an unimpeachably reliable art professional (not from the Frick or FAMSF), who has knowledge of the imminent appointment.
As you may remember, I had been told last month by an inside source at FAMSF that the museum was then in negotiations with its leading candidate. It is now thought to be on the verge of making that announcement.
Bailey was said to have been a finalist for the directorship of the Frick, which went instead to current director Ian Wardropper (who, in turn, had been a finalist for the directorship of the Metropolitan Museum, which went to current director Tom Campbell).
The eminently capable Colin, a European art expert, has been waiting too long in the wings. The chief curator of the Frick Collection since October 2000, he previously worked at the Getty Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum (senior curator) and National Gallery of Canada (deputy director and chief curator).
I love it when long-time curators finally get their well earned shot at a top spot. As with Douglas Druick, now director at the Art Institute of Chicago, this advancement by a respected scholar and accomplished exhibition organizer is richly deserved and augurs good things for the recently floundering FAMSF and its rightly concerned supporters and staff.
Now who’s going to replace Bailey at the Frick?