Robin Nicholson

Deputy Director for Art and Education to become Director of Pittsburgh Museum

Robin Nicholson, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ head of exhibitions and deputy director for art and education, will be leaving the museum to become the director of the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, Penn. He will begin on September 2 as the third director in the Frick’s history.

“Robin has been invaluable as a leader of our senior management team,” Director Alex Nyerges said. “The dramatic transformation of the Virginia Museum since we opened the new McGlothlin Wing four years ago is, in large part, due to the tremendous success of our special exhibition program and our growing strength in education and curatorial programs. Robin has been a focused and highly creative colleague and we will all miss him. It’s a source of pride that he has been tapped to direct such a prestigious and wonderful museum and a remarkable reflection on the growing stature and reputation of the Virginia Museum and its staff,”  he said.

“We have initiated an international search for his successor, and are looking for someone with a vision to mold the next five years of exhibitions, interpretation, programming, scholarship, and acquisitions.  Until then I will be personally overseeing the activities of his division with the assistance of Director of Museum Planning Dr. Lee Anne Chesterfield,” Nyerges said.

Since arriving at the VMFA in 2006 as the first dedicated head of exhibitions, Nicholson has played an instrumental role in the transformation of the museum into one of Virginia’s most popular cultural attractions, with an annual visitation on site in excess of 500,000.  He has spearheaded the ambitious exhibitions program in the new McGlothlin Wing of the museum and acted as project director for all of the most recent blockbuster exhibitions, including Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris, Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and most recently, Hollywood Costume.  He leaves in place a robust exhibition program that includes the fall 2014 spectacular Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing, and in 2015-16, major survey exhibitions of American art, French paintings, and Italian old master drawings.

“Seldom does one have the opportunity to implement such transformational changes within an organization as I have with VMFA,” Nicholson said. “I was fortunate to work with VMFA’s visionary director Alex Nyerges and an impressive team of dedicated colleagues to create a dynamic and accessible museum for which all Virginians can be proud.”

About the Frick
Located on the Pittsburgh estate of late-19th-century industrialist and art collector, Henry Clay Frick, the Frick Art & Historical Center is a complex of buildings that houses the  collections left as a legacy to the people of Pittsburgh by Frick’s daughter, Helen Clay Frick. Built in 1969, The Frick Art Museum displays an exquisite permanent collection of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 13th to 19th centuries, and presents outstanding temporary exhibitions from some of the world’s finest collections and museums. Clayton, the Henry Clay Frick family mansion, is one of the most intact Gilded Age homes in the United States. Restored to its original glory and opened as a house museum in 1990, an astonishing 93 percent of Clayton’s artifacts are original.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit
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