Thomas S. Buechner

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Thomas Scharman Buechner (pronounced BEAK-ner; September 25, 1926 June 13, 2010) was an aspiring artist who turned to working at museums, who became the founding director of the Corning Museum of Glass and director of the Brooklyn Museum, where he oversaw a major transformation in its operation and displays.

Corning Museum of Glass museum

The Corning Museum of Glass is a museum in Corning, New York dedicated to the art, history and science of glass. It was founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works and currently has a collection of more than 50,000 glass objects, some over 3,500 years old.

Brooklyn Museum art museum located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. At 560,000 square feet (52,000 m2), the museum is New York City's third largest in physical size and holds an art collection with roughly 1.5 million works.

Buechner was born in Manhattan on September 25, 1926. He was raised in Bronxville, New York and attended the Lawrenceville School in Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey. After completing high school he was assigned to attend a training program at Princeton University as part of his service in the United States Navy. After completing his military service he spent a year working for the Puerto Rico tourism board so that he could learn the Spanish language. He came back to New York City, working as a night elevator operator at the Plaza Hotel while he studied at the Art Students League of New York. [1] He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and under M.M. van Dantzig in Amsterdam. [2] After studying painting in Europe, he returned to the United States and took a position as an assistant manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a way to have a career in art without being an artist. [1]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Bronxville, New York Village in New York, United States

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Lawrenceville School coeducational, independent college preparatory boarding school

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In 1951, he was named as the founding director of the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York which he created as a place where historic and modern glass works were displayed. Many of the exhibits he developed went on tour to other museums around the country. He established the Journal of Glass Studies , which covers the history of glassmaking to the mid-20th century and New Glass Review , "an annual survey of glass in contemporary art, architecture, craft, and design". [1] [3] [4]

Corning (city), New York City in New York State in the United States

Corning is a city in Steuben County, New York, United States, on the Chemung River. The population was 11,183 at the 2010 census. It is named for Erastus Corning, an Albany financier and railroad executive who was an investor in the company that developed the community. The city is best known as the headquarters of Fortune 500 company Corning Incorporated, formerly Corning Glass Works, a manufacturer of glass and ceramic products for industrial, scientific and technical uses.

He was named as director of the Brooklyn Museum in 1960, making him, at 33, one of the youngest museum directors in the country. [1] [5] There he oversaw a program in which the museum's storage and display standards were upgraded, and many of the thousand works that had been languishing in storage were placed on view to the public. A sculpture garden he created displayed such items as capitals from Louis Sullivan's Bayard-Condict Building. He rescued sculptures by Daniel Chester French representing Brooklyn and Manhattan which had sat at the Brooklyn plaza of the Manhattan Bridge and that were removed as part of construction on the bridge's approaches, and placed them at the entrance to the museum. [1] [6] Buechner requested that the city give the sculptures to the museum after they were threatened with destruction as part of a project to connect the bridge to expressways on either side of the East River. [7]

Louis Sullivan American architect

Louis Henry Sullivan was an American architect, and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism". He is considered by many as the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an inspiration to the Chicago group of architects who have come to be known as the Prairie School. Along with Wright and Henry Hobson Richardson, Sullivan is one of "the recognized trinity of American architecture". The phrase "Form follows function" is attributed to him, although he credited the origin of the concept to an ancient Roman architect. In 1944, Sullivan was the second architect to posthumously receive the AIA Gold Medal.

Daniel Chester French American sculptor

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Manhattan Bridge bridge in New York City

The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan at Canal Street with Downtown Brooklyn at the Flatbush Avenue Extension. The main span is 1,470 ft (448 m) long, with the suspension cables being 3,224 ft (983 m) long. The bridge's total length is 6,855 ft (2,089 m). It is one of four toll-free bridges spanning the East River; the other three are the Queensboro, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bridges.

He was hired by Corning Glass in 1971, where he served as president of the firm's Steuben Glass division from 1973 to 1982 and headed the Glass Museum there from 1973 to 1980. He retired from Corning in 1987 and devoted his time to painting, including a portrait of Alice Tully that is on display in the foyer of Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. [1] Lincoln Center had commissioned Buechner to paint the full-length portrait in honor of Tully's 85th birthday. [8]

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts performing arts venue in New York City

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Alice Tully Hall concert hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City

Alice Tully Hall is a concert hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City. It is named for Alice Tully, a New York performer and philanthropist whose donations assisted in the construction of the hall. Tully Hall is located within the Juilliard Building, a Brutalist structure, which was designed by renowned architect Pietro Belluschi, and completed and opened in 1969. Since its opening, it has hosted numerous performances and events, including the New York Film Festival. Tully Hall seats 1,086 patrons.

Buechner died of lymphoma at age 83 on June 13, 2010, in his home in Corning, New York. He was survived by his wife, the former Mary Hawkins, as well as by a daughter, two sons and seven grandchildren. [1]

Lymphoma hematologic cancer that affects lymphocytes that reside in the lymphatic system and in blood-forming organs

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Grimes, William. "Thomas S. Buechner, Former Director of Brooklyn Museum, Dies at 83", The New York Times , June 17, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  2. Thomas S. Buechner profile, personal website. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  3. Journal of Glass Studies, Corning Museum of Glass. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  4. New Glass Review, Corning Museum of Glass. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  5. Staff. "New Director Is Named By Brooklyn Museum", The New York Times , April 29, 1960. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  6. Buechner, Thomas S. "Successful Relocation of Important Sculpture" Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine ., Sculpture Review , Summer 1964. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  7. Staff. "MUSEUM MAKES BID FOR ART AT BRIDGE", The New York Times , June 2, 1961. Accessed June 19, 2010.
  8. Kozinn, Allan. "Alice Tully Is Dead at 91; Lifelong Patron of the Arts", The New York Times , December 11, 1993. Accessed June 19, 2010.