hermitage museum foundation

Officers & Board

Dr. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky, Honorary Chairman

Prof. Piotrovsky has served as the Director of the State Hermitage Museum since 1992. He is the son of Boris B. Piotrovsky, the Director of the Museum from 1964 to 1990. Dr. Piotrovsky graduated with honors from the Oriental Faculty of Leningrad State University in 1967, specializing in Arabic Studies, as well as also attending Cairo University from 1965 to 1966. He worked and did further studies at the Leningrad branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies from 1967 until 1991 before joining the Hermitage. Prof. Piotrovsky has taken part in archeological excavations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Yemen and authored more than 200 scholarly works. A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Arts, he has received numerous honors, including the Woodrow Wilson Award in 2010. He is also a  professor at St. Petersburg State University; Chairman of Museums in Russia; Chairman of the Board of the European University in St. Petersburg; and editor-in-chief of The Christian Orient. In 1997, the International Astronomical Union even named a small planet “Piotrovsky” to honor both Boris and Mikhail Piotrovsky for their contributions to the arts and sciences.

Torkom Demirjian, Chairman of the Board

Torkom Demirjian is the founder and chairman of the family run Ariadne Galleries with locations in New York and London and specializing in the art of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, Asia, as well as early medieval Europe.

Mr. Demirjian is a graduate of the Pratt Art Institute in New York, but it was his childhood passion for history and art that led to his love of antiquities. A self-taught specialist and a dealer since 1972, he is highly regarded by his colleagues for his expertise, sense of history, astute aesthetic judgment, and business acumen.  Mr. Demirjian believes strongly in the vital role museums play in the preservation of our cultural heritage. The Hermitage Museum, often under very difficult circumstances and in heroic fashion, has maintained this role in addition to its mandate of educating and enlightening the public. When Mr. Demirjian was invited to join the board of directors of the Hermitage Museum Foundation, he accepted without hesitation and with an overwhelming desire to make a positive contribution. He has great faith that the American tradition of voluntarism will benefit The Hermitage Museum as it has so many museums and cultural institutions throughout the world. The American philanthropic community has generously supported Russian cultural institutions in the past, he said, and when it is informed of the urgent needs and lack of financial resources available to the Hermitage, I have every belief it will rise to the occasion and provide the necessary support again. My trust in American generosity is so profound that I assume the chairman's role with great optimism and a strong belief that helping such a great institution in Russia can only have a beneficial effect on the relationship between our countries.

Mr. Demirjian has been a participant in many museum, university, and legal panels and conferences and has been widely interviewed in the print media as well on television, including CBS 60 Minutes. He has always sought to increase interest in and knowledge of ancient cultures among collectors and the public and has encouraged contributions to museums by his own example. During the last four decades, he has donated both important collections and individual works of art to museums in the United States and abroad, including in 2010 a major collection of artifacts from Urartu to The Hermitage Museum in honor of Dr. Boris Piotrovsky, for which he received The Hermitage Museum Foundation Award. 

Peter L. Schaffer, Director and President

Mr. Schaffer is renowned in the international antiques trade for his connoisseurship of Russian works of art and antique jewelry. A principal of the legendary fifth-generation family firm, A La Vieille Russie and a born New Yorker, Mr. Schaffer possesses a keen eye and a great sense of humor, both of which endear him to his clients and fellow antiquarians. In the throes of the Russian Revolution, his family heroically relocated the firm from Kiev to Paris. The winds of World War II occasioned a move to the heart of New York City, first to Rockefeller Center and subsequently to the 59th Street and Fifth Avenue location where the family has welcomed clients, colleagues and friends for the last fifty-plus years. His father, Alexander, intuitively grasped the importance, both historic and artistic, of the work of Carl Fabergi. He was then able to source from the Bolsheviks and Soviets, numerous pieces of the work of this renowned goldsmith and jeweler, including some of the fabled Imperial Eggs, commissioned by Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. An authority on Fabergi, Mr. Schaffer has curated numerous exhibitions, and written extensively on the subject. An acknowledged expert in period jewelry and Russian objects dart, he is a sought-after vettor at major art fairs, where the firm also displays their treasures, such as TEFAF Maastricht, the Winter Antiques Show, the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show in New York City, and Masterpiece, London. He has lectured at such prestigious institutions as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Gem Society, and the Houston Museum of Natural History, and he frequently appears on the popular TV program, Antiques Roadshow. Mr. Schaffer has served as President of the National Antique and Art Dealers' Association of America (NAADAA) and as Treasurer of the Confederation Internationale des Negociants en Oeuvres d'Art (CINOA). He now brings his bank of knowledge and wealth of experience to the Hermitage Museum Foundation as member of its Board of Directors and President.

Saranna Biel-Cohen, Executive Director

Saranna Biel-Cohen has spent ten years at auction houses and galleries in London and New York. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and French Literature from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in History of Art from University College in London. Saranna is also chairing the Young Friends of the Hermitage Museum Foundation.

Lyndsay C. Howard, Director

Lyndsay Howard is senior research associate at SB Financial LLC, a Bloomberg company, where she advises on foreign policy. For over a decade she created and implemented high impact strategic research, analysis and communications solutions for global business and political leaders at a boutique firm she founded and led, Pangaeia Group, working for the chairmen of Access Industries, Lehman Brothers, Lockheed Martin Telecommunications, heads of state, cabinet ministers and public foundations. Previously, she served as Central Asia & Caucasus analyst at the U.S. Department of State; on the Executive Secretariat staff of Secretary James A. Baker III; as an aide to US Ambassador to the Conventional Arms in Europe Treaty Negotiation; and as a research assistant to the Legal Advisor to the President on National Security Affairs at the National Security Council. She received several Superior Honor and Achievement awards in government, among them the State Department's highest distinctions for her innovative analytical work.

Ms. Howard graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. cum laude in the history of science program. She attended Sciences Po and the Sorbonne in Paris and was a Rotary Scholar at the Graduate School for International Studies in Geneva. Ms. Howard is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). She serves on the boards of the Peoples' Symphony Concerts of New York, the President's International Advisory Council of Vassar College and the Hermitage Museum Foundation.

Adam Rosen, Treasurer

A lifelong New Yorker, Mr. Rosen graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University in 2013 with a dual concentration in economics and sociology. After graduating he began working full time at his family's commercial real estate firm, the Rosen Group. In addition to his work at the Rosen Group, Mr. Rosen this past year founded an independent commercial property management company, Koeppel & Rosen LLC. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, basketball, and numismatics.

Thierry Morel, Director and Curator at Large

A Rhodes Scholar, Thierry Morel was educated at the universities of Paris and Oxford, where he graduated in law and history of art. He was a post doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge and has done extensive research on the history of art collections and art provenance in Europe. He also wrote and produced plays and films, among them Private View, a ten-part series of TV documentaries on art collectors. In 2013, he curated the Houghton Revisited exhibition in the UK.

Clyde E. Rankin, III, Outside Legal Counsel, Baker & McKenzie LLP

Mr. Rankin is a member of Baker & McKenzie LLP's Global Corporate & Securities Practice Group in the New York office and chairs the firm's Global Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Industry Group. Mr. Rankin advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, licensing and distribution agreements, joint venture agreements and project finance. For the past several years, he has represented foreign companies investing in the U.S. and U.S. companies investing in the Russian Federation and Eastern and Central Europe. Mr. Rankin counsels clients extensively on renewable energy projects in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Rankin came to Baker & McKenzie from Coudert Brothers LLP, where he served as the ninth Chariman of that firm.

Joachim Pissarro, Director

Joachim Pissarro is an art historian, theoretician, educator, and Director of the Hunter College Galleries and Bershad Professor of Art History at Hunter College of the City of New York. Joachim Pissarro has been the Editorial Director of Wildenstein Publication in America since 2002 and is currently the Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Galleries, Hunter College, New York (since 2007). Previously, Mr. Pissarro was Curator in MoMA's Department of Painting and Sculpture (2003-07). For MoMA, he organized the exhibition Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885 (2005) and Out of Time: A Contemporary View (with Eva Respini, 2006).

Allen Rosenbaum, Director

Allen Rosenbaum is the Director Emeritus of the Princeton University Art Museum where he was assistant director from 1974 to 1980 and director from 1980 to 1998. He had previously been a senior lecturer in the Department of Education at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is a graduate of Queens College, City University of New York, holds an M.A. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Rome. While he lectured on the full range of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum and took a curatorial interest in all aspects of the collection at Princeton, his special interest in in the Italian Renaissance, particularly the early sixteenth century. He has published on Giotto's influence on the frescoes of the young Titian in Padua and lectured at the National Gllery in London and the Metropolitan Museum on the iconography of Jacopo Pontormo's masterpiece, the Capponi Chapel in Santa Felicita, Florence. He is the author of the entries in the catalogue for the exhibition "Old Master Paintings from the collection of Baron Thyssens—Bornemisza" which traveled to nine museums in the United States, opening at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. and closing at the Metropolitan Museum, where it then traveled to the Louvre Museum in Paris. At Princeton he is particularly proud of the exhibitions "The Olmec" and "Celebrations," the latter of works from the collections of Princetonians and friends of the museum, organized for the 250th anniversary of the University. A native New Yorker, he returned to the city after his retirement from Princeton where he enjoys music and collecting.

The Foundation

HMF Officers 

Honorary Chairman, Dr. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky
Chairman of the Board, Torkom Demirjian
President, Peter L. Schaffer
Executive Director, Saranna Biel-Cohen
Director, Lyndsay Howard
Treasurer, Adam Rosen

Executive Committee

Torkom Demirjian
Peter L. Schaffer

Chairmen Emeriti

Paul Rodzianko

Advisory Board

Members of the Advisory Board are chosen for their vast experience and knowledge in museology, culture, economics, politics, law, business, and education. While drawn from numerous backgrounds and disciplines, Advisory Council members share a common commitment to the development of the State Hermitage Museum and Russian-American cultural relations.

Pierre Apraxine
Antonina W. Bouis
Kimberly Tee Breiland
John Paul Greenawalt
Jamee Gregory
Nicolas V. Iljine
Edward Kasinec
Bradley Place
Neil Rector

Maurice Tempelsman
Stephen L. Vanilio
Dr. Geza von Habsburg


State Hermitage Museum

Foundation Hermitage Friends in the Netherlands

Hermitage Amsterdam

Canadian Friends of the Hermitage

The State Hermitage Museum Foundation of Canada Inc.

London Friends of the Hermitage

Open World Leadership Center – Library of Congress

The Monuments Men Foundation

US-Russia Business Council

The Kennan Institute – Woodrow Wilson Center

American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation


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