The Wunsch Americana Foundation Announces Fourth Annual Eric M. Wunsch Award

January 5, 2016

The Wunsch Americana Foundation has named Peter M. Kenny and Morrison H. Heckscher the 2016 Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts honorees, recognizing their dedication and contribution towards preserving American Decorative Arts. The award was created by the Foundation to continue the legacy of renowned collector Martin Wunsch and to encourage greater scholarship and appreciation of American Decorative Arts. Christie's will host the award ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at their Rockefeller Center Galleries in New York City from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Heckscher and Kenny are recognized for their contributions to the expansion and modernization of the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. They oversaw renovations to the American Wing from 2003 to 2012, which modernized the existing building-comprised of the original 1924 structure and its 1980 expansion-adding galleries for American paintings, sculpture and 18th century decorative arts. They spent much of their careers at The Met acquiring architectural elements, whole rooms and fragments, all for this ultimate installation and update, carrying on the museum's history of collecting interiors.
"It's an honor to know these two accomplished scholars and leaders in the field, who consistently delivered the best of the best for The Met with such grace and academic rigor," said Wunsch Americana Foundation President Peter Wunsch. "The exhibitions Morrie curated on John Townsend and American Rococo were simply paradigm-shifting. And Peter's exhibitions on Charles Honore Lannuier and Duncan Phyfe told the story of America in an earlier time-all in the context of the extraordinary galleries of The American Wing he helped to create."
"Christie's is honored to once again be the host for the prestigious 2016 Wunsch Americana Award. I cannot think of two more deserving individuals than Peter Kenny and Morrie Heckscher - each of whom have contributed so much to our understanding in the field of American furniture. We celebrate their extraordinary accomplishments and friendship to all in the field," said John Hays, Deputy Chairman, Christie's.
In honor of the award recipients, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing will be offering a MetFridays tour focusing on the fruits of Heckscher and Kenny's labors. Join Alyce Englund, Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, for “The Thrill of Discovery: Building the Met's American Furniture Collection,” a discussion of major acquisitions of 18th- and 19th-century American furniture, on Friday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m.

About The Wunsch Americana Foundation
The Wunsch Americana Foundation (WAF) was founded in 1946. The late Martin Wunsch drove the Foundation to focus on American Decorative Arts in the 1970s. He was an accomplished mechanical engineer and inventor by profession, as well as one of the foremost collectors of American furniture and Old Masters paintings by avocation. A distinguished scholar, he inspired many like-minded collectors, dealers, and curators to join him in preserving America's art history.
Now overseen by Peter, Eric, and Noah Wunsch, WAF continues its investment in American antiquities through education and preservation initiatives.
The Foundation operates out of New York City, where it manages its lending, sharing, and gifting relationships with a host of institutions throughout the United States. In 2012, the Foundation established the Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts, which is presented annually to individuals, institutions, and causes that embrace the spirit of collegial efforts to support the field of American Decorative Arts.
The inaugural Eric M. Wunsch Award was given to Patricia E. Kane, the Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery. Linda H. Kaufman and the late George M. Kaufman, private collectors and philanthropists, and Richard H. Jenrette of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and his foundation, the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust were the 2014 recipients, and in 2015 WAF honored the Chipstone Foundation and Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman.
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