Statement from Donald Sobey, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa - July 29, 2008
In light of recent media reports, the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) wishes to speak to the continuing exceptional standing of a great national institution that continues to be an icon of the visual arts in Canada, as well as to comment on certain recent events. This year’s exhibition program is being well received.
The Board of Trustees has been aware of the issue and acted as facilitators to resolve this matter. This has resulted in a mutual agreement between the Director, Pierre Théberge and the Deputy Director and Chief Curator David Franklin to all parties’ satisfaction.
Pierre Théberge has been an outstanding leader of the Gallery for 11 years and his reputation in Canada and abroad is unassailable. Under his direction, the institution has blossomed through magnificent acquisitions with thousands of generous gifts made by Canadians. The collection remains one of the most prestigious in the world. The outreach program, which sends exhibitions to public galleries across the country, has been a phenomenal success and has made the institution truly national. All of this has been achieved within balanced budgets certified by the Auditor General.
Similarly, Dr. David Franklin has been involved in directing the curatorial achievements of the Gallery over the past seven years. His knowledge of art and art history is well-recognized nationally and internationally. He is a great asset, not just to the National Gallery but to Canada, and we look forward to his continued work on the Gallery’s Collections and the many important exhibitions planned for the future.
As Chairman, I have spoken with Dr. Franklin following resolution of this issue. He deeply regrets the recent events and is pleased that he and Mr. Théberge, whom he regards as his supporter, are now moving forward.
Mr. Théberge’s term expires in five months. Last fall, the Board began the process of selecting a new director. A Committee of the Board, along with external advisors, will be interviewing candidates within the next three weeks, and the Board anticipates announcing the new director, in due course.
The only operational change brought about by management agreement is that Mr. Franklin is currently concentrating his efforts on the Gallery’s 2009 summer exhibition “From Raphael to the Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome” exclusively. This exhibition is an area of deep expertise for Dr. Franklin and he is a key part of its successful execution.
The Board considers this matter resolved and it our sincere hope that the collective focus of all can once again be directed to showcasing the excellence of the National Gallery of Canada.
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