CLEVELAND, OH.-Tracey Albainy, the Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, in the Art of Europe department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), died on Tuesday, December 18, in Cleveland, after a battle with lung cancer.
A native of Cleveland, she joined the MFA’s curatorial staff in 2000 and oversaw numerous exhibitions, gallery installations and acquisitions. Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Albainy was coordinating curator of the MFA’s current exhibition, Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style, 1800-1815. She also oversaw a four-year conservation project of the Swan Collection, the only complete suite of 18th-century French royal furniture in America. In addition, during Ms. Albainy’s tenure, the museum has acquired, through gift and purchase, extraordinary collections of European furniture, silver and other decorative arts including a selection of pieces from a magnificent service made at the Imperial Manufactory at Sèvres for Josephine Bonaparte.
From 1993 to 2000, she held curatorial positions in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts department at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Prior to that, she served as Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and was Marble House Fellow at the Preservation Society of Newport County. Her other work experience includes associations with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Parsons School of Design/Cooper-Hewitt Museum Graduate Program, and Frick Art Reference Library.
Ms. Albainy graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College, and received her master of arts in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and another master of arts degree from Parsons School of Design/Cooper-Hewitt Museum Graduate Program in the History of European Decorative Arts.
Ms. Albainy was a prolific writer in her field, having published numerous scholarly articles. She was the recipient of many awards and a member of several professional organizations, including the French Porcelain Society. She was fluent in French, and enjoyed her many sojourns to Paris.
Ms. Albainy is the daughter of Dr. Miled Albainy of Cleveland and the late Joyce Albainy. In addition to her father, she is survived by her siblings Anthony Albainy and Dr. Donald Albainy, both of Cleveland, and Kelly Albainy-Jenei of Cincinnati, as well as her beloved two nieces and four nephews.
A memorial service will take place in the spring at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Memorial contributions are suggested in her name to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Art of Europe Dept., 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115; Smith College, Donor Services, 33 Elm St., Northampton, MA 01063; or The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445.