Emily R. Pulitzer is an internationally respected curator, collector and patron of the visual arts. Over the last four decades, she has helped shape the cultural landscape of St. Louis and the nation through a series of important exhibitions, programs and organizations. Pulitzer received an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2005.
She arrived in St. Louis in 1964 as curator of the Saint Louis Art Museum, where her almost decade-long tenure was marked by a succession of prescient acquisitions and exhibitions.
In 1982, she co-curated the Whitney Museum of American Art’s “Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture” and co-organized Richard Serra’s sculpture commission “Twain” (1982) for downtown St. Louis. In 1986, she co-founded Arts in Transit, in which artists worked with architects and engineers to design a new light rail system.
Origins of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts date back to 1988, when the Fogg Art Museum exhibited selections from the renowned collection of modern art that Pulitzer had built with her husband, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., then editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Shortly thereafter, the couple selected future Pritzker Prize winner Tadao Ando to design permanent exhibition facilities. Unfortunately Joseph Pulitzer died in 1993; however construction began on the Pulitzer Foundation in 1996 and the facility opened in 2001 to international acclaim.
Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker, called it “the greatest work of architecture to go up in St. Louis” since Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building in 1891.