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Henri Gabriel Marceau Curatorial Records

Identifier: CUR

Scope and Contents

This collection is arranged in three series: Correspondence, Lectures, and other materials, Exhibition Files, and Film.

The first series, Correspondence, Lectures, and other materials, spans 1929 to 1956. Correspondence is confined to 1929 to 1946. Dated lecture materials spans 1938 to 1956, however, there is some material that is undated. The slide lectures are all undated. Other materials include both notes and photos and is something of an arbitrary distinction to allow for materials that do not correspond with other more common types.

The second series, Exhibition Files, consists primarily of photos of artwork that was included in exhibitions. There are also materials created by Marceau, such as biographical information on specific artists, as well as, notes, letters, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the exhibition.

The third series, Film, consists of several rolls of unprocessed film. They may be images of exhibitions or other subject matter relevant to the function of the museum.


  • 1929-1956


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Henri Gabriel Marceau Curatorial Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Biographical / Historical

Henri Gabriel Marceau was an internationally known scholar, art historian, and architect. Having earned his degree from Columbia University, and been awarded a prestigious fellowship by the American Academy in Rome, he was well suited to take on the role of Assistant Professor at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Pennsylvania. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1929, during which time he also took on the role of Assistant Curator of the Johnson Collection at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art (1926). When Marceau decided to devote his career entirely to the PMA in 1929 he was promoted from Assistant Curator to Curator of the Johnson Collection - a position that was life long - and also took on the position of Curator of Fine Arts. Throughout his career Marceau held various appointments at the museum, including: Curator of Paintings(1933), Chief of the Department of Paintings and Sculpture (1937), Associate Director (1937-38), and finally Director from 1955 to 1964. In the Associate Director capacity Marceau worked closely with Fiske Kimball, the Director of the PMA from 1925 to 1955. When Kimball was travelling for business or on holiday, Marceau adeptly took on the responsibilities reserved for the director.

Marceau was particularly interested in sculpture, evidenced in the William Rush exhibition, as well as, other international sculpture exhibitions held in the museum's courtyard in the years 1933, 1940, and 1949. It is suggested that Marceau was instrumental in inspiring a renewed interest in sculpture and sculptors at the time he was active in the PMA. “It is impossible to overestimate the distinguished contributions which Mr. Marceau has made to the Museum throughout his devoted years here,” comments Dr. Evan H. Turner, Marceau’s successor as PMA Director.

Works Consulted

  1. Marceau obituary. Bulletin of the American Group. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 1960-1972 (Vols. 1-12)


13 linear feet (20 standard letter-sized archival boxes, 5 legal size archival boxes, 1 shallow lid box )

Language of Materials



This collection comprises of Henri Gabriel Marceau's correspondence, lectures, notes, and photographs related to his time as curator for the Philadelpha Museum of Art.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Alice Lefton. Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation. Additional descriptive work was done by Hannah McKeever in 2019.



Guide to the Henri Gabriel Marceau Curatorial Records
Finding aid prepared by Alice Lefton (2016) and Hannah McKeever (2019)
2006, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States