On February 1, 2020, Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General at the Consulate General of France in Chicago, awarded Alan Philips Darr, Senior Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, with the insignia of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in a ceremony held at the Detroit Institute of Art for his many years of contributions to French & Franco-American Cultural Programs, Exhibitions, Acquisitions & Events.
Alan Darr is one of the greatest curators of his generation, and one of the best American specialists in French art. For 40 years, he has worked in one of the most important museums in the United States, the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts), where he has notably supervised the acquisitions policy, giving first place to French works (paintings, sculptures, decorative arts).
Alan Darr has had a remarkable curatorial career with DIA. In particular, he has supervised the purchase of one hundred and fifty French works that have been added to the museum’s collections (medieval tapestries, Sèvres porcelain, furniture, but also paintings from the Barbizon school, and sculptures by Puget, Rude, Rodin and Claudel). In addition, he has invited dozens of French lecturers as part of the public programmes he runs. In addition to these activities, he has organized trips to Paris for groups of collectors and patrons from Michigan.
Alan Darr is also a major player in Franco-American museum exchanges. He is heavily involved in the FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange) network, which brings together twenty-six regional museums in France and North America. In particular, it participates in annual meetings that are intended to prefigure collaborative projects between partner museums on both sides of the Atlantic. As in the choices he makes for his museum’s acquisitions, Alan Darr is a curator driven by a “vision” that allows him to imagine numerous exhibition projects between France and the United States.