Introducing Our Guest Blogger – Thomas Hoving

Thomas Hoving has joined the SkyGeek blog. Tom is well known as the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from 1967 to 1977. During his tenure, he renovated more than 50 galleries, created the museum’s architectural master plan, and doubled the size of the museum from seven to 14 acres, constructing five wings and the monumental 5th Avenue stairs, parks, and fountains.

What’s more important, Tom is a passionate pilot with lot’s of personal knowledge and experience. Tom will be providing his reports and insights on an irregular basis to the SkyGeek community.


Tom’s extensive bio:

1931: Jan. 15: Born NYC, Thomas Pearsall Field Hoving. Mother, socialite Mary Osgood Field; father Walter Hoving, retailing whiz-kid who eventually bought Tiffany & Co.
1931-1938: Resided in Lake Forest, IL. Went to the Bell School.
1938: After divorce of parents, moved to NYC to live with mother.
Attended The Buckley School until 1940 when expelled for insubordination.
1939-1947: Attended The Eaglebrook School, Deerfield, MS. Excelled in arts, general studies and sports.
1947-1948: Attended Exeter Academy, NH. Expelled for being a jerk. (See John McPhee, "A Roomful of Hovings.") I invented the modern short Lacrosse goalies’ stick, but they still expelled me.
1948-1949: Attended the Hotchkiss School, CN. Cum Laude. Varsity soccer goalie.
1949-1953: Attended Princeton University, majoring in art and archaeology. Summa cum Laude.
1953: Married to Nancy Melissa Bell of NYC whom I met while running away from my blind date at Princeton in 1952. Nancy’s father, Elliott V. Bell was Tom Dewey’s campaign manager in 1848 and created Business Week magazine. One daughter, Trea, 1957 and three grand-daughters, Amelia, Kate and Matilda.
1953: Enlisted in the USMC during Korean War and promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Wrote numerous letters to the DoD to keep war going when truce negotiations started. That didn’t work.
1955-1959: Attended Princeton University Graduate School in Art and Archaeology on a Kienbusch-Haring Fellowship.
1956-57: Quit Grad school for Europe to look at real works of art rather than photographs. Lived in Rome and bummed for a year and a half around Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Holland looking at every work of art conceivable. Learned four languages. Member of the staff at excavations in Sicily at Morgantina, an ancient Greek site, during the season of 1957.
1958: Returned to Princeton and got Master of Fine Arts Degree.
1959: Received Ph.D. Dissertation on Carolingian ivories.
1959: Hired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Medieval Department and The Cloisters.
1960: Put in charge of all acquisitions in the two departments.
1960-1965: Collected a host of medieval works including the Bury St.
Edmunds cross, an English ivory of 1156, called the greatest English work ever created during the middle ages. (See "King of The Confessors, Second Edition," Cybereditions.com, 2001.)
1965: Quit to serve as parks and recreation researcher in John V.
Lindsay’s mayoral campaign and wrote the white paper on the subject.
1966-67: Appointed commissioner and then administrator of Parks and Recreation, NYC and am credited with the idea of closing great parks off to traffic.
1967 April 1: Named 7th director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (See, "Making the Mummies Dance, Simon and Schuster, 1986.) Responsible for a massive building program which added 125 galleries to the museum and doubled its space from seven to fourteen acres, made extensive acquisitions including the Lehman Collection, the Packard Collection, Diego Velazquez’ Juan de Pareja, Monet’s, Terrace a Sainte Addresse, the Euphronios Vase of 510 BC. (which will be sent back to Italy because proof that it had been illegally dug up came through) and the Temple of Dendur. Am credited with bringing the museum into the modern world and significantly popularizing it. Also organized and chose works for the King Tut show of 1976-79.
1977: Resigned the Metropolitan Museum owing to boredom.
1978: Named on-air correspondent and arts and entertainment editor for ABC’s 20/20. Created entertainment pieces (Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty) until contract was not renewed in 1985.
1978: Became an author. First book "Tutankamun, The Untold Story,"
(Simon and Schuster and recently TK Press) made NYT National best-seller list.
1979: With wife, Nancy, started Hoving Associates, a museum consulting firm. Clients included the Egyptian government, the Houston Museum and Henson Associates.
1980-2005: Became a writer. 23 books so far in all, including "False Impressions, the Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes, Simon and Schuster, 1992) and "Art For Dummies."
1985: Received private pilot’s license and subsequently instrument and commercial tickets and flies own Cessna 182 RG in the USA and abroad.
Have logged 5700 plus hours.
1986: Editor-in-Chief of Connoisseur magazine until 1992 where I wrote numerous articles and a monthly column until fired by the Hearst Corporation (Connoisseur went bankrupt a year later.) At Connoisseur exposed curatorial corruption at the Getty Museum and exposed that museum’s famous 6th century BC Greek Kouros as a forgery.
Most recent books are "Master Pieces," the quintessential curators’ art game, of 2005 and just this September an interview with the painter Andrew Wyeth on his Helga paintings, "Wyeth on Paper" for the Adelson Galleries.
Awards: Numerous including three honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Princeton, Honorary Member, the American Institute of Architects, "Least Likely To Succeed" in Hotchkiss yearbook and Client of the Year from the New York Bar Association for the many law suits lodged against the Metropolitan during his tenure.