April 11, 2009

Art historian Scott dead at age 92

Art historian David W. Scott, the founding director for the National Museum of American Art in Washington, reportedly has died at the age of 92.

Scott joined the museum in 1963 when it was known as the National Collection of Fine Arts and helped raise the Smithsonian Institute site's stature, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Scott determined to build the NCFA into a museum of consequence, author Sophy Burnham said in her The Art Crowd book about the New York and Washington art worlds. He wanted it to be the equivalent of the Whitney or the Tate -- vital, vibrant, fashionable, discussed, a force in the art world.

Thanks in part to Scott's determination, the National Collection of Fine Arts was transformed into the National Museum of American Art and later the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The newspaper said the former Scripps College art history professor died of multiple organ failure March 30 in Austin, Texas.

He is survived by his wife Doris White Scott, two daughters, four stepsons, a brother, a sister and four grandchildren.