Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello to Step Down

montebello.jpgPhilippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1978, will step down from his position by year’s end. The museum will officially confirm his planned departure at a news conference tomorrow at 11am, the Met’s senior vice president of external affairs Harold Holzer just told us in an e-mail.

As Charles McGrath noted last summer in The New York Times, Montebello’s tenure of three decades is “an eternity in the museum world, where directors seldom last a decade anymore, and some observers thought that the April opening of the Met’s splendid new Greek and Roman galleries, a project in which Mr. de Montebello had taken great interest, might be his swan song.”

UPDATE: The NYT‘s Carol Vogel has the details of Montebello’s retirement and an interview with the man himself here. “After three decades, to stay much further would be to skirt decency,” he says. “This has not been an easy decision–it’s wrenching for me, it’s been my entire life. But it’s time.”