Jonathan Fine, an American art historian who has served as scientific director of the Weltmuseum in Vienna since July 2021, has been selected to succeed Sabine Haag as general director of the city’s Kunsthistorisches Museumsverband, overseeing three major Viennese museums.
From 1 January 2025, Fine will be responsible for the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Weltmuseum and the Austrian Theatre Museum. A five-member selection committee chose him from 20 candidates, according to a press release from the Austrian Ministry of Culture.
“Jonathan Fine has convinced me that he doesn’t just understand the burning issues museums face today, but also wants to confront them,” Andrea Mayer, the culture minister, said in a statement. “He stands for a thoroughly modern concept of a museum that addresses social questions without neglecting its fundamental tasks.”
Fine led an expert commission that last week presented recommendations to the Austrian government on setting up a restitutions committee to handle claims for objects in national museums acquired in a colonial context. Before joining the Weltmuseum, he served as head of collections at Berlin’s Ethnology Museum. His area of expertise is African art.
Before becoming an art historian, Fine practised as a lawyer focussed on international commercial disputes, constitutional law and human rights.