Throughout his long and remarkable lifetime, David E. Finley (1890-1977) made brilliant contributions to the cultural life of this country. Yet less than thirty years after his death, his name is barely known. In David Finley: Quiet Force for America’s Arts, biographer David Doheny revitalizes Finley’s legacy, presenting the compelling story of his life and incorporating fascinating excerpts from recently discovered private journals, published here for the first time.

As the first director of the National Gallery of Art, founding chairman of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a key player in creating the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., Finley used his matchless contacts and legendary powers of persuasion to establish institutions that today preserve and display masterpieces of western European and American art, a rich heritage of architectural properties across the United States, and an exceptional visual record of notable figures in American history. In addition, Finley’s distinguished leadership of the Roberts Commission, which protected the art and architectural monuments during World War II, stands as a landmark in America’s cultural maturity.

Providing compelling insights into the events and personalities that shaped our nation during the transformative years between the 1920s and 1960s, this book will appeal to scholars and students of history and art.

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