By Janos Thuroczy
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31 Overall, it is unclear what beneﬁts, beyond a credential, the Harvard Business School provided Carter in later years. Some of the gains were undoubtedly rhetorical. He would invoke his training on a variety of occasions, particularly when it came to organizational issues, personnel problems, and spatial planning. And he used it, in later years, when appealing to corporate executives who he hoped would subsidize major exhibitions. Certainly Brown’s ability to read a budget and analyze revenue projections were enhanced, but more signiﬁcant, perhaps, was his encounter with a slightly older business student, who would become a lifelong friend and adviser.
In doing so, he was able to enlist several of the most eminent art historians and museum directors in the Western world. His father’s wealth, social position, public service, institutional philanthropy, and broader reputation opened any door Carter chose to knock on. Intense, amiable, and ambitious, the would-be museum administrator conducted, in effect, a one-man study of the state of American art history in 1958, and its relevance to a museum career. His notes on interviews and his correspondence document some fascinating commentaries.
Chapter two The National Gallery Directions and Deviations T he city of Washington, with its dense network of cultural institutions, stood on the eve of several revolutions when Carter Brown arrived in the summer of 1961 to serve as John Walker’s personal assistant at the National Gallery of Art. Coming barely six months after the presidential inauguration of another New Englander, John F. Kennedy, Brown’s move from New York began more than forty years of continuous involvement with Washington life and culture.