After several weeks battling a brain aneurysm, Anne Morand, 61, curator of art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, has died.
Morand died at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at OU Medical Center, where she had been in treatment since the aneurysm. She suffered a stroke after the aneurysm was detected and Morand never regained consciousness. Her family surrounded her during her final weeks in intensive care; talking to her, holding her hand and keeping her company.
“She was great, she was always fun,” said David Morand, 30, of Tulsa, remembering growing up as her only child. “She's the reason I like Western art so much, I've always been around museums since I was little.”
Morand served as the museum's curator of art since March 2010. She'd spent 32 years in the museum industry, garnering national recognition with industry awards and as an author of several art books.
“She was very versatile in her knowledge of not just Western art but the history of Native American fine art as well,” said Mike Leslie, assistant director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
It was the depth of her knowledge of Western and American Indian art, her versatility as a curator and her unique vision that made her stand out from other candidates for the position.
“She brought just a fresh way of looking at our permanent collection,” Leslie said.
In fact, it was her reimagining of the William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West Gallery that Leslie said was likely her most significant contribution to the Museum during her short time as curator. “It's a fresh look at what we had here for a long time.”
“Curious” is a word that came up repeatedly when people described Morand.
“That's the perfect word, curious, interested in everything, including art,” said Norman Roberts, 90, Morand's father. “I first detected it in Puerto Rico when we were there (Anne was about 13). My co-worker's wife was an artist. Anne became quite interested and fascinated.”
Morand herself developed a passion for sketching and painting that would lead to her eventually to graduating from Washington University with a Master of Art in Art History in 1991.
Morand served as curator of art collections at the Gilcrease Museum from 1977 to 2003. At the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont., Morand served as associate director for programming/chief curator in 2004, and chief executive officer from 2004 to 2008.
Morand's memorial service will be held at the museum, but the family has not set a date.