Philippe de Montebello delivers remarks at the Edmund Burke Award gala


NEW YORK, April 26, 2017—On Wednesday, April 26, Philippe de Montebello was honored by The New Criterion with its fifth Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society at a gala dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. The Edmund Burke Award honors individuals who have made conspicuous contributions to the defense of civilization. Through his exemplary career, serving for over thirty years as Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mr. de Montebello embodied the spirit of this award, guiding the Met in maintaining a classical approach to the curation and display of sublime works of art. In addition to his work as a manager and curator, Mr. de Montebello has established himself as a vocal defender of the ennobling power of the fine arts through his publications such as Rendez-vous with Art, co-authored with Martin Gayford. His insights have made him an invaluable leader in the ongoing struggle for culture.

In his opening remarks, Roger Kimball, the editor of The New Criterion, said “Unlike many museum directors, Philippe never confused size with accomplishment. He was conspicuously a custodian of responsible growth and, moreover, ground his activity as director in a passionate and informed connoisseurship. All of which is to say that Philippe cares deeply about the drawn or painted or sculpted line as well as the bottom line.”

In his remarks, titled “Art in Conversation,” Mr. de Montebello defined the role that museums have in the struggle for culture as “repositories for the world’s tangible, cultural heritage, and vestiges of the past as well as expressions of the present.” He also acknowledged the enduring achievements of The New Criterion, expressing his appreciation that the magazine “is in as good hands today as it was under my good friend Hilton Kramer.”

The gala dinner in New York to honor Mr. de Montebello benefited The New Criterion, an influential monthly review of the arts and intellectual life, and the award gives homage to the inspiration provided by Edmund Burke, the eighteenth-century political philosopher. Previous recipients have included Henry Kissinger (2012), Donald Kagan (2014), Charles Murray (2015) and Ayaan Hirsi-Ali (2016).

ABOUT The New Criterion

The New Criterion ( is a New York–based monthly literary magazine and journal of artistic and cultural criticism, edited by Roger Kimball. It was founded in 1982 by Hilton Kramer, the former art critic for The New York Times and Samuel Lipman, a pianist and music critic. The New Criterion draws inspiration and its name from The Criterion, a British literary magazine edited by T. S. Eliot from 1922 to 1939. For over three decades, it has featured criticism of poetry, theatre, art, music, the media, and books from America’s leading commentators.

The Times Literary Supplement has said “The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.” The Wall Street Journal has said “it operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism” and calls The New Criterion “the best art magazine and a provocative force in other cultural areas.”

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