In Memoriam: Dr. Edmund P. Pillsbury – 1943-2010

Edmund P. (“Ted”) Pillsbury, Heritage Auctions‘ Chairman of Fine Arts and Director of Museum Services, died this morning of an apparent heart attack suffered Thursday afternoon.

Pillsbury was a well known and respected scholar of fine arts. Below is a  statement from Heritage Auctions Co-Founders Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin on Pillsbury’s sudden passing:

Edmund_Pillsbury.jpg“We learned this morning of the passing of Dr. Edmund P. (“Ted”) Pillsbury at the age of 66 from an apparent heart attack yesterday afternoon after returning from lunch with a consignor. All of us here at Heritage Auction Galleries wish to express our deepest sympathy to his wife, children, coworkers and all others who knew and loved him.

Dr. Pillsbury was well-known as one of the world’s foremost art museum professionals. He earned his Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance Art from the University of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. Among the places that flourished under his leadership are: The Yale Center for British Art; the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London; the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, TX (he served as director of the Kimbell for 18 years and built it into one of the greatest art museums in the world); the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas, and the Meadows Museum at SMU. He also served as an advisor to The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Ted joined the Heritage family in 2005 and, with his dynamism, unimpeachable reputation and encyclopedic knowledge of Fine Art, made an immediate impact as Chairman of our Fine Arts and Museum Services departments. He essentially built both departments from scratch, recruiting a world class team of experts and other professionals.

His tenure here at Heritage lasted nearly five years, the longest of any institution he served other than the Kimbell, and we all expected to be working with him for many more years to come. This is such a sad day for Heritage’s 375 employees, and for the art community at large. Ted will be terribly missed, though his legacy proudly continues.”

– Steve Ivy & Jim Halperin