Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in New York City
Hall of the entrance area

The Metropolitan Museum of Art ( Met ) is the largest art museum in the United States and has one of the most important art history collections in the world. The main building is located on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street on the Upper East Side in the Manhattan borough of New York City , on the eastern edge of Central Park and is part of Museum Mile .

It was founded on April 13, 1870, opened on February 20, 1872 and is a universal museum with the claim to completeness of its art collection areas and eras. The collection contains more than three million works. In changing exhibitions, the exhibits are exchanged from time to time and presented on over 130,000 m² of exhibition space. In 2016, the museum had 7,006,859 visitors, making it the second most visited art museum in the world.

The Met has three locations. In addition to the main building on Central Park, there has been The Cloisters for medieval and religious art in Washington Heights since 1938 and the Met Breuer for contemporary art on Madison Avenue in the former building of the Whitney Museum of American Art since 2016 .


Opening of the picture gallery (1872)
View of the museum (around 1914)

After a banquet in a Parisian restaurant on the occasion of the American national holiday on July 4, 1866, the great-nephew of the same name of the famous constitutional lawyer John Jay (1745-1829) gave a speech to a group of American businessmen. He urged those present to create a museum that would bring both art and art education to the American people in a "national institution". After five years of lobbying with business people, bankers, artists and intellectuals, the first building of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was opened in 1870.

The current location is after another stopover since 1880 on the edge of the Central Park area. The building was designed by the American architect Richard Morris Hunt in a neoclassical style ( Neo-Gothic style ). The monumental facade, created by Hunt in 1912 but remained unfinished, is made of light beige limestone from Indiana . McKim, Mead and White architects designed the north and south wings, which were completed in 1911 and 1913. In 1975, the exhibition area was again extensively enlarged towards the park and around the entire building. The museum still consists of a ground floor and two floors. In June 1986 the museum building was awarded the status of a National Historic Landmark .

In January 2009, the museum's previous tapestry curator, the British art historian Thomas P. Campbell, took over as director of the “Met”, succeeding Philippe de Montebello, who had headed the museum for 31 years.

Museum directors

  1. Luigi Palma di Cesnola , 1879–1904
  2. Caspar Purdon Clarke , 1904-1910
  3. Edward Robinson , 1910-1931
  4. Herbert Winlock , 1932-1939
  5. Francis Henry Taylor , 1940–1955
  6. James J. Rorimer , 1955-1966
  7. Thomas PF Hoving (born January 15, 1931 - † December 10, 2009)
  8. Philippe de Montebello , 1978-2008
  9. Thomas P. Campbell , from January 1, 2009 to the end of June 2017
  10. Max Hollein , since August 2018

Collection areas

The exhibits chronologically cover the most important art-historical epochs, from Stone Age cult objects to special exhibitions of contemporary art. In addition to American art, the collections also show extensive works of Egyptian, African, Islamic and Asian art as well as exhibits from the Middle East. The largest section is dedicated to Europe, with extensive collections of paintings, handicrafts and architectural fragments to musical instruments and ancient weapons as well as medieval armor.

The museum's collections are accessible to visitors in 19 departments, each with its own exhibition room ( curatorial departments , in the following description sorted alphabetically according to the American language). There is also the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, in which textiles are preserved, stored and researched, as well as an extensive library.

American Crafts ( American Decorative Arts )

Formally established in 1934, this section contains approximately 12,000 examples of American (i.e., primarily the area of ​​what is now the United States) handicrafts from the late 17th to the early 20th centuries. This includes furniture, metalwork, ceramics, glass and textiles. The department is housed together with the department for American painting and sculpture in the American Wing (American wing) and has 25 Period Rooms , rooms with complete furnishings each from a specific era. The department's outstanding works include silversmiths by Paul Revere , what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of American stained glass (e.g. with works by Louis Comfort Tiffany ) and the living room of the summer house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Frances W. Little ( Little House ).

American painting and sculpture ( American Paintings and Sculpture )

The collection shown in the American Wing comprises over 4,000 works of American art (paintings, sculptures and works on paper) from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, making it one of the most extensive anywhere. Some of the most famous works of American art can be found here, such as: For example, the Gibbs-Channing-Avery portrait of George Washington painted by Gilbert Stuart or Emanuel Leutzes monumental work Washington Crossing the Delaware . Also the other notable American artists such as John Singleton Copley , Thomas Cole , George Caleb Bingham , Frederic Edwin Church , Albert Bierstadt , Thomas Eakins , John Singer Sargent , Winslow Homer , Mary Cassatt , James McNeill Whistler , Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Frederic Remington are represented with major works.

Ancient art of the Middle East ( Ancient Near Eastern Art )

This department, which has been independent since 1956, covers both geographically and temporally a very large area, which corresponds to the research area of Near Eastern archeology ; The Metropolitan Museum is one of the few museums that present this area in a comprehensive way. Archaeological finds from an area that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Indus Valley in the east and from the Black and Caspian Sea in the north to the Arabian Peninsula in the south, and cultures from the Neolithic revolution to the advanced cultures on the Indus and Indus , are shown in Mesopotamia until the arrival of Islam or until the fall of the Sassanid Empire in 651 after the conquest by the Arabs. The works came to the museum through donations or purchases as well as through excavations in which the museum has been involved since the 1930s (for example in Nippur , Nimrud and Ktesiphon in Iraq and in Hasanlu , Yarim Tepe and Qasr-i Abu Nasr in Iran ).

The most famous objects in the collection include a series of monumental Neo-Assyrian reliefs from Nimrud , which came to the museum in 1932 as a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr. Other significant parts of the collection include Sumerian sculptures (e.g. a seated figure of Gudea ), ivory carvings from Anatolia and Persian and Anatolian goldsmiths.

Weapons and armor ( Arms and Armor )

Nominally, this department includes armaments as well as edged weapons and firearms from the period of 400 BC. BC to the 19th century, which come from Europe, Asia and North America. Archaeological finds can also be found here (e.g. a Spangenhelm ), but the focus is on lavishly designed objects that are examples of the handicrafts of the respective era. Thus it is often a question of ceremonial armor and weapons. One focus of the collection is European armor, for example for tournaments , from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This includes several pieces of armor made by the Tudor's royal workshops in Greenwich, a parade helmet artistically designed by Filippo Negroli , as well as several southern German armor for “horse and rider”, which are presented free-standing and form the eye-catcher of the exhibition rooms. In addition, Islamic armor from Persia and Anatolia of the 15th century are shown as well as jeweled weapons from the Ottoman court in Turkey and the Mughal court in India. The extensive collection of Japanese armor and weapons, beginning with works from the Middle Ages, is considered the most important outside of Japan.

Arts of Africa, Oceania, South, Central and North America ( Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas )

The works shown in this section were created in Africa, Oceania and pre-colonial America, so they are objects that are traditionally found in ethnology rather than art museums in Germany, for example. Although some of these objects had been collected in the Metropolitan Museum since 1882, the decisive impetus for an equal presentation alongside European or Asian art took place in 1969: Nelson A. Rockefeller offered his personal collection of non-European art, which until then had formed the basis of the von Museum of Primitive Art founded by him , to the Metropolitan Museum as a gift. The previous Museum of Primitive Art was de facto incorporated into the Metropolitan Museum. The objects on display were deliberately viewed as works of art, not just as documents of their respective cultures, and their evaluation within the Metropolitan Museum put them on an equal footing with Western art. Since this step, the Metropolitan Museum has also from its own point of view fulfilled the claim to present the art of mankind encyclopedically.

The museum wing of the department, the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing , is named after a son of Nelson A. Rockefeller, who as an ethnologist in New Guinea collected objects from the Asmat , including the ancestral stakes, which are an eye-catcher in this museum wing. Through the foundation of the Rockefeller Collection, the department has numerous outstanding works of African , Oceanic and pre-Columbian art (e.g. a pendant mask carved from ivory from the Kingdom of Benin , a mosaic shield from the Solomon Islands , masks from the Torres Strait Islands , a Maya stele), and since then it has been strengthened on the one hand through targeted purchases (e.g. a caryatid stool by the master of Buli ) and on the other hand through donations: here, for example, the Perls collection of works from Benin (including important bronze works ) or the Mitchell Collection of Pre-Columbian Gold Objects.

Asian Art ( Asian Art )

With over 35,000 objects, the collection of Asian art is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the USA. It shows works of art from all cultural regions of Asia ( China , Japan , Korea , South Asia , Southeast Asia , Himalayas) and covers the period from the 4th millennium BC. Until the early 20th century. Asian art has been collected in the Metropolitan Museum since 1879 and has been organized as an independent department since 1915, but was initially collected less intensively than European and American art. This changed in the 1970s, particularly through the use of C. Douglas Dillon , who was president of the museum from 1970. As a result of the active purchase policy that began at the time, as well as donations, the high level and comprehensive orientation of today's collection of Asian art was achieved in the following years. The focus of the collection is on Chinese calligraphy and painting (e.g. by Han Gan , Guo Xi , Qian Xuan , Zhao Mengfu , Ni Zan , Wang Hui ), Japanese folding umbrellas (e.g. by Ogata Kōrin ) and woodblock prints , as well as Chinese, South and Southeast Asian sculptures as well as early paintings from Nepal and Tibet.

As in other departments, the presentation in the “Asian wing” combines works of art with handicrafts and objects of cultural history (metalwork, ceramics, lacquer work, textiles) in order to give a comprehensive impression of the respective cultural epoch. A resting point for the visitor is the Astor Courtyard, initiated by Brooke Astor , an inner courtyard designed in the style of the Ming Dynasty .

Costume Institute ( The Costume Institute )

The collection includes over 35,000 items of clothing from Europe, Asia, Africa and America, which reflect both the historical development of fashion and regional traditions. The collection is one of the most important of its kind in the world. Due to the light sensitivity of the objects, the department does not show a permanent exhibition, but rather presents parts of its holdings in three changing exhibitions per year. The rooms used for this are located in the basement of the museum. Ever since Diana Vreeland supported the department as a consultant (from 1972), exhibitions in the Costume Institute have also been devoted to current fashion issues and are perceived and supported by the fashion industry, i. H. Compared to the other departments of the museum, the Costume Institute is much more closely linked to current developments. The annual charity gala is one of the fixtures in the annual New York high society . B. as the location of the Hollywood movie Ocean's 8 . In 2009 the collection of the Brooklyn Museum was taken over ( Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art ).

Drawings and prints ( Drawings and Prints )

With an inventory of around 15,000 drawings and 1.5 million prints, the collection is one of the largest copper engraving cabinets in the world. As these works on paper are sensitive to light and therefore cannot be permanently exhibited, the department shows changing cross-sections in an exhibition room set up for this purpose your own collection. The department focuses on Western European and North American graphic works that were made after the Middle Ages. (Further works on paper can be found in other departments.) Important holdings are Italian and French drawings from the 15th to 19th centuries, early German prints as well as Italian from the 18th century and French from the 19th century.

Egyptian art ( Egyptian Art )

The collection of Egyptian art, with around 36,000 objects, is one of the best outside of Cairo. It covers the development over time from the Stone Age through Pharaonic Egypt to the occupation by the Romans. Over half of the collection comes from the museum's own archaeological campaigns in Egypt in the first half of the 20th century. The combination of main and study galleries means that practically all objects in the collection are permanently presented.

Among the highlights of the collection are from the Old Kingdom , the mastaba of Perneb (5th Dynasty), from the Middle Kingdom, wooden models from the grave of Meketre in Thebes (around 1990 v. Chr.) And jewelery of Princess Sithathoriunet (ca. 1897–1797 BC) and sculptures of the pharaoh Hatshepsut from the New Kingdom . The temple of Dendur is shown in a separate wing, a temple under Emperor Augustus around 15 BC. Temple built in the 4th century BC, which was dismantled in the course of the construction of the Nasser Dam and presented to the USA in 1965 by the Egyptian government as thanks for its support in saving the Nubian cultural monuments. The Met at the time was in competition with twenty other US museums and was awarded the contract for the Dendur Temple, because it was the museum with the largest collection of Egyptian and because of the promise specially cultivate a glass Department of the temple.

European painting ( European Paintings )

This section brings together works of Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, German, British and French painting from the 12th to the end of the 19th century and thus includes old masters as well as painting from the 19th century; these two areas are exhibited in separate galleries. The collection is based, on the one hand, on various important private collections that were given to the museum, especially in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century (a tradition that to a certain extent continues to this day, for example with Walter H. Annenberg's collection of French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists) and on the other hand through targeted purchases of individual works by the museum (e.g. The Fortune Teller by Georges de la Tour , Aristotle in front of the bust of Homer by Rembrandt , portrait of Juan de Pareja by Velazquez , wheat field with cypresses by Vincent van Gogh or Madonna and Child by Duccio ), some of which were among the most expensive paintings ever sold at auctions or in the art trade.

Some of the artists represented in the Italian collection are Giotto , Duccio di Buoninsegna , Simone Martini , Andrea Mantegna , Sassetta , Fra Filippo Lippi , Botticelli , Piero di Cosimo , Giovanni Bellini , Vittore Carpaccio , Tizian , Raffael , Bronzino , Lorenzo Lotto , Veronese , Caravaggio and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo .

The important and extensive collection of old Dutch art includes works by Jan van Eyck , Gerard David , Petrus Christ , Rogier van der Weyden , Dieric Bouts , Hans Memling and Pieter Bruegel the Elder .

The very extensive collection of the Dutch Golden Age includes works by Vermeer (with five more paintings than in any other museum, including Young Woman with a Water Pot by the Window , Lute Player by the Window and Sleeping Girl ), Rembrandt , Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael . Major works of Flemish painting are by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthonis van Dyck .

The small old German collection includes works by Albrecht Dürer , Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Holbein the Younger .

Important paintings in the collection of French old masters come from Jean Clouet , Valentin de Boulogne , Nicolas Poussin , Georges de la Tour , François Boucher , Antoine Watteau , Chardin , Fragonard and Jacques-Louis David .

The rather small collection of Spanish old masters includes works by El Greco (e.g. view of Toledo ), Velazquez , Jusepe de Ribera , Francisco de Zurbarán and Goya .

English painters include Thomas Lawrence , Joshua Reynolds , John Constable and William Turner .

With regard to the 19th century, the focus is on painting from France, in particular on impressionism and post-impressionism , one of the best collections in the world can be found here, in which its most important representatives are usually represented with several major works. Some of the artists from 19th century France are Ingres , Daumier , Delacroix , Courbet , Rosa Bonheur , Corot , Édouard Manet , Claude Monet , Renoir , Degas , Cezanne , Seurat , Paul Gauguin , Vincent van Gogh and Henri Rousseau .

The museum also owns some works of 19th century European painting outside France, including a version of the Two Men Contemplating the Moon by Caspar David Friedrich and the Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin .

European Sculpture and Decorative Arts ( European Sculpture and Decorative Arts )

This department brings together around 50,000 Western European objects from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. These are sculpture, furniture and other woodwork, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewelry, clocks and scientific devices, as well as tapestries and other textiles. The main focus of the department includes Italian Renaissance sculptures, those from France in the 18th and 19th centuries (e.g. by Jean-Antoine Houdon , Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux , Edgar Degas , Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol ), furniture and Silver from England, Italian majolica as well as German and French porcelain (e.g. from Meissen , Höchst and Nymphenburg ). Numerous works are shown in period rooms or are historical rooms, e.g. B. the studiolo from the palace of Federico da Montefeltro in Gubbio (Italy, approx. 1478–82), an inner courtyard from Vélez Blanco (Spain, 1506–15) and several French salons from the 18th century.

Greek and Roman Art ( Greek and Roman Art )

Ancient art has been part of its collection program since the museum started: the first object acquired was a Roman sarcophagus . Today the department in the field of Greek art includes works from ancient Greece, Cyprus and the Greek-influenced Asia Minor as well as from the Greek colonies of the time on the Mediterranean and Black Sea; In addition, there are objects from even earlier cultures in the area of ​​today's Greece (e.g. idols of the Cycladic culture ). In a corresponding way, Roman art from the entire Roman Empire is shown, as well as works from earlier cultures in Italy (e.g. the Etruscans , including the chariot of Monteleone). The temporal end point of this department is, following the conventions of the 19th century, the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity. The art of late antiquity is therefore left out and instead presented in the Byzantine collection.

The focus of the collection is on Cypriot sculptures, the outstanding collection of Attic sculptures (including grave steles and a fully preserved kouros ), Greek vase painting (e.g. Hirschfeld painters , Amasis painters , Lydos , Andokides painters , Epiktetos , Exekias , Oltos and Berliners Painter ), Roman portrait busts, Roman wall paintings (frescoes from the cities buried by Vesuvius in AD 79 , in particular from Boscoreale and Boscotrecase ) and goldsmith work.

Islamic Art ( Islamic Art )

The department has more than 12,000 works of Islamic art that represent all areas of culture influenced by Islam, from Spain and Morocco in the west to India in the east. It extends from the founding of Islam in AD 622 to the 19th century. One focus of the collection are miniatures from Persia and the Mughal Empire in India, including those from a richly decorated manuscript of the Shāhnāme made for Shah Tahmasp (1514–1576) . Glasses and metalwork from Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia as well as ceramics and textiles, especially carpets , from all over the Islamic world are also extensively represented . An example of an Ottoman room ensemble is installed in the museum, from Damascus dating Nur al-Din Room from 1707th

Robert Lehman Collection ( The Robert Lehman Collection )

This department looks after the former private collection of Robert Lehman (1891–1969, head of the investment bank Lehman Brothers ), which was transferred to the museum after his death and is shown there in a specially built wing, the ambience of which is based on that of Robert Lehman's private apartment is. The collection includes around 2,600 works of Western European art - paintings, applied arts and drawings - from the end of the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.

Among the paintings, one focus is on early Italian painting, especially from Siena and Florence (including works by Ugolino di Nerio , Simone Martini , Giovanni di Paolo , the master of Osservanza and Sandro Botticelli ), another old Dutch painting (including works by Petrus Christ , Hans Memling and Jean Hey ). The Old Masters Collection also includes important works from later epochs, e. B. by El Greco , Rembrandt and Goya . This is followed by French paintings from the 19th and early 20th centuries, for example by Ingres , the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, the Fauvists, and by Pierre Bonnard and Balthus . The arts and crafts collection includes majolica from the Renaissance, Venetian glass, furniture, goldsmith and enamel work, jewelry, textiles, bronzes and a comprehensive collection of historical picture frames. The collection of drawings, which is not permanently on display, is also very important; it is particularly extensive in the case of Venetian drawings from the 18th century, but also includes numerous other masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century (including by Leonardo da Vinci , Albrecht Dürer , Peter Paul Rubens , Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain and Georges Seurat ) as well as some important miniatures (by Jean Fouquet among others ).

Medieval art ( Medieval Art )

The Department of Medieval Art shows its works in two different rooms: on the one hand in the main building on Fifth Avenue and on the other hand in The Cloisters in north Manhattan.

main building

The collection in the main building covers the entire period of the European Middle Ages with more than 6000 objects . A decisive point in their collection history was the donation of numerous sculptures and works of medieval treasure art from the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan in 1917 . The focus of today's collection is mainly on smaller works such as Byzantine handicrafts (including several silver treasures), enamel and goldsmith work as well as ivory carvings , as well as Gothic tapestries, stained glass and stone sculptures (partly from the Abbey of Saint-Denis , from Notre-Dame in Paris or the Amiens Cathedral ). The important individual works in the department include the "Chalice from Antioch ", the ivory tablet from his series for the Magdeburg Cathedral showing a church foundation by Otto I , a wooden Madonna from the 12th century from Auvergne, a marble eagle lectern by Giovanni Pisano , a sculpture of the " Visitation " ascribed to Master Heinrich von Konstanz and figures from the grave of Jean de Berry in Bourges .

The Cloisters

In The Cloisters (German: The cloisters ) is one in Fort Tryon Park medieval on the northern tip of Manhattan-based architectural elements from Europe built building ensemble. The majority of these items were acquired by George Gray Barnard in France and brought to the United States. After exhibiting them in New York, they were purchased for the Metropolitan Museum with financial support from John D. Rockefeller Jr. and were the starting point for the concept of a separate building that would give the authentic impression of a medieval complex. For this purpose, the area of ​​Fort Tryon Park was again acquired with funds from Rockefeller, and he also acquired the area on the opposite side of the Hudson in order to leave it as a park / forest: As a result, The Cloisters is in a comparatively large area for Manhattan. Nature ”, similar to how many medieval monasteries were built in remote locations. The Cloisters' premises include several cloisters (with columns, capitals and other architectural elements from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa , Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert , Bonnefont-en-Comminges , Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville), In addition, there are also other rooms that are based on medieval architecture, such as three chapels.

In addition to the architectural elements, other medieval works of art, mainly from the Romanesque and Gothic , are exhibited in The Cloisters . The most important of these include the ivory cross from the abbey of Bury Saint Edmunds (England, 12th century), the fresco from an apse in Fuentidueña (Spain, approx. 1175–1200), Les Belles Heures (one of the Brothers of Limburg for Jean de Berry richly decorated book of hours), a series of tapestries with scenes of the hunt for the unicorn (approx. 1500), another with the Nine Good Heroes (approx. 1385–1410), the Mérode triptych by the Master of Flémalle and sculptures by Tilman Riemenschneider and Gil de Siloé .

Moderne Kunst ( Modern Art )

The modern art department shows works from around 1900 to the present day, with a geographical focus on Europe and North America. The Metropolitan Museum has always defined itself as a collection of works of art up to the present day, but acquisitions of contemporary art during the first decades of the museum are now in the “historical” sections of American and European art of the 19th century. The modern art department currently includes more than 10,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, handicrafts and design.

The outstanding works of French classical modernism include those by z. B. Pablo Picasso (extensive collection, including the portrait of Gertrude Stein ), Georges Braque , Amedeo Modigliani , Henri Matisse , Roger de la Fresnaye , André Derain , Pierre Bonnard , Chaim Soutine and Balthus . Classical modernism from Germany is represented by 90 works by Paul Klee that Heinz Berggruen donated to the museum, with Kandinsky's Improvisation No. 27 and Beckmann's triptych The Beginning , but also with paintings by Emil Nolde and Otto Dix . Several works by Umberto Boccioni represent futurism . Significant examples of North American art of the first half of the 20th century come from Maurice Prendergast , Childe Hassam , Marsden Hartley , Edward Hopper , Charles Sheeler , Charles Demuth , Georgia O'Keeffe and Stuart Davis , among others . American art after the Second World War is also extensively represented, for example with Clyfford Still , Willem de Kooning , Jackson Pollock (including the monumental Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) from 1950), Ellsworth Kelly , Gabriele Evertz , Barnett Newman , Richard Diebenkorn , Jasper Johns ( White Flag from 1955), Robert Rauschenberg , James Rosenquist , Roy Lichtenstein , Andy Warhol , Chuck Close , David Smith and Louise Bourgeois . European contemporary art, on the other hand, is less well represented; Here you can find paintings by Georg Baselitz , Anselm Kiefer and Lucian Freud , among others .

Musical instruments ( Musical Instruments )

This section brings together around 5000 musical instruments dating from 300 BC. Until today. The instruments are collected taking into account the aspects of technology, social significance and tonal and visual beauty. As part of the Metropolitan Museum as an art museum, a focus is on musical instruments, which can also be regarded as outstanding examples of handicrafts.

The declared aim of this department is the encyclopedic representation of the development of musical instruments worldwide. As a result, musical instruments from non-western countries are also extensively represented, including many made of precious materials. Western musical instruments include lavishly designed instruments from the Renaissance and Baroque periods , European and American keyboard instruments (including the oldest surviving piano , by Bartolomeo Cristofori , 1720), wind instruments from the 17th to 19th centuries, string instruments by famous violin makers such as Antonio Stradivari , Andrea Amati , Joachim Tielke and Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume , an American organ by Thomas Appleton (1830) and guitars used by Andrés Segovia deserve special mention.

Photographs ( Photographs )

The photography department documents the development and artistic use of the medium of photography from its invention in the 1830s to the present day. It comprises over 20,000 works, primarily from Europe and North America, but other areas of the world are also represented, such as Japan. As for the section '' Drawings and Prints '', the same applies to photographs that they are light-sensitive and therefore cannot be exhibited permanently; therefore, the photographs shown in the exhibition rooms, each intended to represent a cross-section of the collection, are regularly changed.

The cornerstone of the photography collection was a first donation of his own works by Alfred Stieglitz in 1928 , which he had others follow. As a result, the artists from the environment of '' Galerie 291 '' von Stieglitz and the magazine '' Camera Work '' are extensively represented, in particular Edward Steichen (including three prints of '' The Flatiron '' in different colors), but also F. Holland Day , Adolphe de Meyer , Gertrude Käsebier , Paul Strand and Clarence Hudson White . The collection also includes numerous important works of early British photography (e.g. by William Henry Fox Talbot , David Octavius ​​Hill / Robert Adamson , Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron ) as well as French photography from the 1850s (e.g. by Édouard Baldus , Eugène Cuvelier , Gustave Le Gray , Henri Le Secq and Nadar ). Berenice Abbott , Brassaï , Walker Evans (with his personal archive), André Kertész , Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy are among the most important photo artists from the period between the world wars . The time since the Second World War is represented by American photographers Harry Callahan , Robert Frank , William Klein and Garry Winogrand , but also Bernd and Hilla Becher and the '' Becher School '' with Thomas Struth , Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky and others contemporary photographers such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince .

Met Breuer

Met Breuer

On March 18, 2016, a new venue was opened with the Met Breuer. In by Marcel Breuer -designed building on Madison Avenue and 75th Street in Manhattan's Upper East Side is Modern and Contemporary Art on display. Previously, the Whitney Museum of American Art was located here from 1966 to 2014 , which moved to a new building designed by Renzo Piano in downtown.

Illegally acquired objects

Critics like the Met curator Oscar White Muscarella accuse the Metropolitan Museum of Art of exhibiting one of the largest collections of exhibits from illegal excavations in the world. Only the willingness to buy illegal objects makes robbery excavations financially interesting. Loans from wealthy art collectors to museums increase the collector's value and the museum curators do not ask about the origin of the objects in order to be able to continue to receive exhibits. This allegation is supported by the employment of the art trade lobbyist Ashton Hawkins , who worked for 32 years as a lawyer for the "Met" and ultimately as its vice-president. Hawkins is a co-founder of the ACCP ( American Council for Cultural Policy ), an organization of art collectors and museum directors that campaigned for the lifting of the export ban on Iraqi art treasures during the Third Iraq War .

The so-called Sarpedon - Crater of Euphronios , one of the most ancient vases at all, the Italian Cerveteri had been excavated illegally, was located since 1972 in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum. After years of conflict, the vase was officially returned to Italy in 2006, but was initially on loan in the Metropolitan Museum until it was finally transferred to Italy in January 2008. Today the antique vase is exhibited in the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia in Rome.


  • Calvin Tomkins : Merchants & Masterpieces. The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Revised and updated edition, H. Holt, New York 1989, ISBN 0-8050-1034-3 .
  • Suzan Mazur: Antiquities Whistleblower Oscar White Muscarella. The Whistleblower & The Politics Of The Met's Euphronios Purchase: A Talk With Oscar White Muscarella. In: Scoop. December 25, 2005 (online)

Web links

Commons : Metropolitan Museum of Art  - Album containing pictures, videos and audio files
  • Photos and 360 ° recordings (“Vue panoramique”) on

Individual evidence

  1. Visitor Figures 2016. Art Newspaper, accessed June 11, 2018 .
  2. Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: New York. National Park Service , accessed November 20, 2019.
  3. Met Chooses Tapestries Curator to Lead Museum . In: New York Times , September 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Briton becomes the new director of the Metropolitan Museum. In: Tagesspiegel , September 10, 2008.
  5. New in San Francisco. Museum director Thomas P. Campbell. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . November 1, 2018, p. 9 (Report about Hollein's successor at the FAMSF).
  6. a b The Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Curatorial Departments" ( Memento of January 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 23, 2011
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Philippe de Montebello (ed.): The Metropolitan Museum of Art guide. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1994, ISBN 0-87099-711-4 .
  8. a b c d e f g h i j Philippe de Montebello: The Met and the New Millennium. reprinted from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1994), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1994.
  9. ^ A b The Metropolitan Museum of Art: "American Decorative Arts" ( Memento June 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 23, 2011
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  11. ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Ancient Near Eastern Art" , accessed August 3, 2013
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Coordinates: 40 ° 46 ′ 46 ″  N , 73 ° 57 ′ 48 ″  W.