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Lynn Marsden-Atlass: Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery
February 12, 2008, Volume 54, No. 21


Marsden Atlass

Provost Ronald J. Daniels announced the appointment of Lynn Marsden-Atlass, senior curator of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), as director of the Arthur Ross Gallery, effective March 3, 2008. 

“This is a great day for Penn’s arts and culture community,” said Provost Daniels.  “We are indeed fortunate to welcome to Penn a nationally known curator and educator with Lynn’s remarkable range of experience.”

Ms. Marsden-Atlass’ curatorial background includes the landmark PAFA exhibitions In Private Hands: 200 Years of American Painting and Thomas Eakins and His Legacy, as well as major shows of such artists as Cecilia Beaux, Charles Demuth, Daniel Garber, Alex Katz, and Robert Motherwell. 

Thomas Eakins and His Legacy was organized in March 2007 around the historic purchase of Eakins’ “The Gross Clinic” by PAFA and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The acquisition followed a major public campaign and fundraising initiative to keep the painting in Philadelphia after Thomas Jefferson University announced plans to sell it. 

In Private Hands offered a once-in-a-lifetime look at 100 paintings from 55 private collectors across the country.  The exhibit included many major works of art that had never before been seen in public. 

“I am honored and excited to join such a distinguished University,” said Ms. Marsden-Atlass. “I look forward to sharing my experience as an educator and a curator, and to collaborating with Penn faculty, the Friends of the Gallery, and the greater Philadelphia community to continue the Gallery’s prestigious legacy and its commitment to multicultural exhibitions.” 

Before joining PAFA in 2003, Ms. Marsden-Atlass was curator of American and Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia (1999-2003) and associate director and registrar of the Colby College Museum of Art (1989-1999). She also has extensive experience as a consultant and advisor for private art collections around the country.

As director of the Consortium of Colleges Abroad in Paris from 1980-1988, she worked closely with hundreds of undergraduates, taught courses in art history from the 18th century to the present, and led a wide range of public lectures and hands-on museum classes. 

Ms. Marsden-Atlass earned an MA in art history from The University of Chicago and a BA in art history from Lake Forest College. 

 “I am extremely grateful to Associate Provost Vince Price and the committee he chaired, which attracted so many outstanding candidates from across the country,” added Provost Daniels. “We are also indebted to Dejay Duckett for her invaluable service as the Gallery’s acting director and her critical ongoing role as its associate director.” 

Almanac - February 12, 2008, Volume 54, No. 21