Who's in charge of Penn's paintings?

Dear Benny, I’ve noticed there are a ton of paintings, sculpture and other art objects around campus. Who’s responsible for maintaining Penn’s art collection? What exactly does this person do? Does Penn actually own all of these pieces, by the way?
—Art Aficionado

Dear Campus Connoisseur:
Penn's art collection is an asset that is actually owned by the Trustees. The Office of the Curator has been charged by the Treasurer's office to care for the substantial collection.

Since 1984, Jackie Jacovini has been minding the collection. As curator, Jacovini says she's responsible for developing and directing policies for acquisition, accession and maintenance of the art collection. She explains that maintenance can entail conservation, restoration or sometimes simple cleaning. With objects that need special care, Jacovini consults with different entities, such as the Bronze Outdoor Conservation Program when discussing Penn's substantial bronze statuary collection. The University art collection also has a loan program, and Jacovini frequently loans out artwork for long-term exhibitions. Currently, there's one piece on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Thomas Eakins' "Agnew Clinic") and several on loan to the Ben Franklin tercentenary exhibition.

Jacovini stresses that Penn's art collection includes several objects other than paintings or sculpture. Notable decorative objects include the Rittenhouse Orrery. valuable china and some of Franklin's artifacts, including a cane and cufflinks. "The collection is very eclectic," she says.


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Originally published on December 7, 2006