Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Martin E. Sullivan | Museum director, 70

Martin E. Sullivan, 70, who as director of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery from 2008 to 2012 tried to push the museum past its reputation for staid and unrisky works of art, died Tuesday at his home in Piney Point, Md.

Dr. Sullivan resigned in May 2012 after a stroke. The immediate cause of death was renal failure, his daughter Bethany Sullivan said.

A museum executive for three decades, Dr. Sullivan was credited at the National Portrait Gallery with commissioning works depicting a world far beyond its traditional emphasis on presidents and first ladies. Such portraits included those of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and restaurateur Alice Waters.

Dr. Sullivan was born in Troy, N.Y. He was a 1965 graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. At the University of Notre Dame, he received a master's degree in 1970 and a doctorate in 1974, both in American history.

For much of the 1990s, Dr. Sullivan was director of the Heard Museum of American Indian Art and History in Phoenix.

- Washington Post

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