California State Parks announced on May 13, 2014 that Mary Levkoff was selected as the new Hearst Castle Museum Director. She will lead the historic site with its amazing art collection beginning this summer. Hoyt Fields, the former Museum Director who had been at Hearst Castle for 39 years, has retired, but will stay on in a part time role to help with a smooth transition.
Levkoff was most recently the head of the department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she had served for more than five years. Prior to that, she was curator of European sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for nineteen years (1989-2009) where she conceived and realized the groundbreaking exhibition and book, Hearst the Collector, which was presented at LACMA in 2008-09 in collaboration with Hearst Castle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Castle to the public.
“We are delighted that Ms. Levkoff will be bringing her talents to Hearst Castle,” said Nick Franco, State Parks Superintendent for the San Luis Obispo Coast. “Mary has the background in museums, the history of Mr. Hearst’s collections, and the demeanor and personality to successfully work well with the many partners on the Central Coast.”
Levkoff is a graduate of Princeton University, where her senior thesis was awarded the Frederick Barnard White Prize in Architectural History. Her graduate work in the history of art was done at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Levkoff received her formal curatorial training at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Levkoff’s studies in the field of French Renaissance art have been published under the auspices of the Louvre, the Musée national de la Renaissance, and the École du Louvre. She also wrote a catalogue of LACMA’s 19th-century European sculpture, Rodin in his Time (Thames & Hudson, 1994; 2nd edition, Rizzoli, 2000). Her book Hearst the Collector (Abrams, 2008) won Sotheby’s Prize for a Distinguished Publication in the History of Collecting in 2011.
“It was an honor to be chosen for this position, and I am overjoyed to return to California, where I lived and worked for nineteen years,” Levkoff said. “My commitment to Hearst Castle, its staff and visitors, and the legacy of William Randolph Hearst is profound.”
A separate study by Levkoff on William Randolph Hearst’s classical antiquities appeared in APOLLO magazine (October 2008), and her paper on Hearst’s Spanish art was published in 2012 by the Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting, in conjunction with the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica. Levkoff lectures frequently on the entire span of William Randolph Hearst’s collections, most recently at the École du Louvre (on Hearst’s connoisseurship), and at the Wallace Collection in London on the British aspects of his acquisitions. Her devotion to the subject led her to solidify her attachment to the Central Coast by purchasing a cabin in Cambria.
At the National Gallery of Art, she has overseen the exhibitions The Sacred Made Real, The Invention of Glory: the Pastrana Tapestries, and the display of the Capitoline Venus, a celebrated Roman antiquity.
While in Los Angeles she volunteered with pet-adoptions for the Lange Foundation and assisted Operation Gratitude, which assembles gift-packages to support our troops stationed abroad.
California State Parks Mission
To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. For more information, visit www.parks.ca.gov.