Metropolitan Museum Of Art

A BRIEF HISTORY
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens – businessmen and financiers as well as leading arists & thinkers of the day – who wanted to create a museum to bring art & art education to the American people. The Metropolitan's paintings collection also began in 1870, when 3 private European collections, 174 paintings, came to the Museum. A variety of excellent Dutch & Flemish paintings, including works by such artists as Hals & Van Dyck, was supplemented with works by such great European artists as Poussin, Tiepolo, & Guardi. The collections continued to grow for the rest of the 19th century. Upon the death of John Kensett, for example, 38 of his canvases came to the Museum. But it's the 20th century that has seen the Museum's rise to the position of one of the world's great art centers. Some highlights: a work by Renoir entered the Museum as early as 1907. Today the Museum has become one of the world's great repositories of Impressionist & Post-Impressionist art). In 1910 the Metropolitan was the 1st public institution to accept works of art by Matisse. By 1979 the Museum owned 5 of the fewer than 40 known Vermeers. The Department of Greek & Roman Art now oversees thousands of objects, including one of the finest collections in glass & silver in the world. The American Wing holds the most comprehensive collection of American art, sculpture, & decorative arts in the world. The Egyptian art collection is the finest outside Cairo. The Islamic art collection is without peer. In 1880, the Metropolitan Museum moved to its current site in Central Park. The original Gothic-Revival-style building has been greatly expanded in size since then, & the various additions - built as early as 1888 - now completely surround the original structure. The present facade & entrance structure along Fifth Avenue were completed in 1926. A comprehensive architectural plan for the Museum approved in 1971 was completed in 1991. The architects for the project were Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, & the overall aim was to make the Museum's collections more accessible to the public, more useful to the scholars &, in general, more interesting and informative to all visitors. Among the additions to the Museum as part of the master plan are: the Robert Lehman Wing (1975), which houses an extraordinary collection of Old Masters, as well as Impressionist & Post-Impressionist art; the installation in The Sackler Wing of the Temple of Dendur (1978), an Egyptian monument (ca. 15 B.C.) that was given to the United States by Egypt; The American Wing (1980), whose magnificent collection also includes 24 period rooms offering an unparalleled view of American art history & domestic life; The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing (1982) for the display of the arts of Africa, Oceania, & the Americas; the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing (1987), which houses modern art; & the Henry R. Kravis Wing, devoted to European sculpture & decorative arts from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 20th century. With the building now complete, the Metropolitan Museum continues to refine & reorganize the collections in its existing spaces.

    In June 1998, the Arts of Korea gallery opened to the public, completing a major suite of galleries – a "museum within the Museum" – devoted to the arts of Asia.
    In October 1999 the renovated Ancient Near Eastern Galleries reopened. & a complete renovation & reinstallation of the Greek & Roman Galleries is underway: the first phase, The Robert & Renée Belfer Court for early Greek art, opened in June 1996; the New Greek Galleries premiered in April 1999; & in April 2000 the Cypriot Galleries were open to the public.

    References:
    www.metmuseum.org
    www.ny.com/museums/MET.html
    http://library.metmuseum.org
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    Art Museums

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