SMU and Meadows Community Mourn the Passing of an Icon

William B. Jordan, founding director of the Meadows Museum, has died

Bill Jordan and Algur Meadows standing at the entrance to the “original” Meadows Museum here in Owen Arts Center.

SMU and the Meadows community mourn the passing of William B. Jordan, founding director of the Meadows Museum in 1967 and a former chair of fine art at the Meadows School. Dr. Jordan died January 22 in Dallas at the age of 77.

 “Bill Jordan helped build the Meadows Museum from the ground up. His incalculable influence on the quality of its collections is the reason why the Meadows holds the finest collection of Spanish art outside of Spain itself,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "That dedication to excellence is his legacy on our campus. The depth and breadth of his talent and expertise were matched only by the generosity of his heart. SMU is a better place for having known him.”

“Bill Jordan’s association with the Meadows School and the Meadows Museum has been a critical part of our success,” said Samuel Holland, dean of the Meadows School. “Bill became the founding director of the Meadows Museum in 1967, a post he held for 14 years, and he was the person most responsible for helping Algur H. Meadows build the world-renowned collection that forms the Meadows Museum today. He also served as chair of what was then the division of fine art, from 1967 to 1973, and taught the history of Spanish art for many years. Over the decades he has remained a friend and supporter, and his advice on art historical matters has been invaluable. We will greatly miss him.”

“The Meadows Museum is deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Jordan,” said Mark Roglan, Meadows Museum director. “During his tenure as director, and with the support of philanthropist Algur H. Meadows, he helped build the core of the Spanish art collection, acquiring major works by Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Picasso and Miró. The modern sculpture collection was also formed at this time, with pieces by Rodin, Giacometti, Moore and Maillol. His involvement, vision and dedication to the field of Spanish art has left a lasting legacy. An internationally known scholar and authority on Golden-Age Spanish art, he published major contributions to art history and curated important exhibitions on El Greco, Ribera and Juan van der Hamen, a still-life painter who was the subject of a major exhibition he curated at the Meadows Museum in 2006. Over the years, he continued participating in the life of the museum and served as one of its greatest advocates. His passing is a sad loss for Dallas and all admirers of Spanish art.”

Read the obituary in the Dallas Morning News.