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Now at the Met

The Latest on the Jabach Portrait: What, No Frame?

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2014

That's right; our newly acquired Jabach portrait arrived at the Museum with no frame. When I inquired about the omission, I was told that the frame it had had in London was not worth sending over. Besides, that frame no longer fit the picture, since it had been made when the top of the canvas was folded over. (See "The Jabach Conservation Continued: Next Steps" for more on the fold in the canvas.)

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Cowboys in China: The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 at the Nanjing Museum

Thayer Tolles, Marica F. Vilcek Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014

After the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 closed at the Met on April 13, 2014, it traveled to the Denver Art Museum, where it was on view through August 31. While Colorado is located in the heart of the American West, the show's current venue, the Nanjing Museum in China, represents an exciting new frontier for these sculptures. This is certainly not the first exhibition of American art to travel to China, but it is the first focused on bronze statuettes—including forty-four works by twenty-two artists, with the roster of lenders comprising public and private collections in and around New York and Denver. Although fewer objects are included in the Nanjing Museum presentation than in either the New York or Denver venues, the organizing structure remains the same: Old West themes representing American Indians, cowboys and settlers, and animals of the plains and mountains.

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New MetPublications: Summer/Fall 2014

Mark Polizzotti, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Editorial Department

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Museum's Editorial Department presents this season's new titles that celebrate the Met's collection and special exhibitions. The following are eight spectacular publications, just off the presses.

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"Please Lie Down; This Won't Hurt a Bit": The Jabach Conservation Continues

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Now that I've finished the cleaning of the Jabach portrait, it is time to deal with the distortion resulting from the top of the picture having been folded over (as described in my last post). We first had to construct a platform on which to lay the picture face down while working on the reverse side of the canvas. This was custom built by our structural specialist, George Bisacca.

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Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry—Interview with Author Elizabeth Cleland

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A tapestry designer, painter, draftsman, and publisher of architectural treatises, Pieter Coecke van Aelst was quite literally a Renaissance man. Though he was a master of many media while active from the 1520s until his death in 1550, his contributions have been largely forgotten today. Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, the catalogue accompanying the exhibition currently on view through January 11, 2015, covers much more than just the artist's tapestries and aims to fill the nearly fifty-year gap in the literature on this great artist. I spoke with the catalogue's author, Associate Curator Elizabeth A. H. Cleland, about the book, her interest in Coecke, and why she thinks this Northern Renaissance master has been neglected in recent scholarship.

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Teens Take the Met!

Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2014

The Met is known by most for its monumental building, its extraordinary and massive collection of works of art, and its incredible team of curators. But on the evening of Friday, October 17, the Met will take on an entirely different identity as a super-cool destination for teens with its first-ever teen night, affectionately dubbed Teens Take the Met.

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A Recent Gift of Delacroix Drawings Highlighted in New Gallery Rotation

Cora Michael, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014

A selection of ten drawings by Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863) is now on view in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Gallery. The display features several highlights from a recent gift of forty-three Delacroix drawings from the collection of Mrs. Karen B. Cohen that focus on the artist's Moroccan subjects. Many of these works were inspired by Delacroix's journey to North Africa in 1832—including studies related to his painting of The Sultan of Morocco and His Entourage, animal drawings such as a ferocious tiger, and figure studies of Arab peoples and costumes.

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Meet the Jabachs

Christine Seidel, 2013–2014 Slifka Foundation Interdisciplinary Fellow, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the few months that have passed since the arrival of Charles Le Brun's monumental canvas depicting Everhard Jabach and his family, we've begun to get acquainted with the members of this extraordinary family, which moved from Cologne to Paris and established a life of courtly elegance.

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The Drinking Cup of a Classic Maya Noble

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014

When researchers deciphering the Classic Maya (ca. a.d. 250–900) hieroglyphic writing turned their attention to texts on ceramic vessels, they encountered a repeated series of similar signs first known as the "Primary Standard Sequence." The signs were statements that Classic Maya artists used to name the type of vessel (e.g., "plate" vs. "drinking cup"), the material it originally held (e.g., "chocolate" vs. "tamales"), and the owner or giver of the gift. For instance, the text around the rim of the vessel from the Met's collection (fig. 1, shown at left) identifies it as a "drinking cup."

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The Jabach Portrait Conservation Continued: Next Steps

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Now that the varnish removal from the Jabach portrait is finished, it's time to turn to a rather more thorny issue: the structural conservation work.

The original and surprisingly fine canvas is constructed from five pieces of fabric: a large, central rectangle; two horizontal bands, one each top and bottom; and two vertical bands, one each at the left- and right-hand sides. The horizontal bands run the full width of the composition. This construction is entirely original, planned from the outset to accommodate the monumental scale of the painting while carefully situating the seams in the peripheral areas of the composition.

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#AskaCurator Day on Twitter

Taylor Newby, Social Media Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014

This Wednesday, September 17, join us on Twitter for Ask a Curator Day. Three curators will answer your questions about their jobs, collections, exhibitions, and more during live Twitter Q&As. You can tweet your questions to @metmuseum using the #AskaCurator hashtag both in advance and during the following sessions.

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How to Read Oceanic Art—Interview with Author Eric Kjellgren

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014

With the start of a new school year, it is a great time to learn about the art and cultures of Oceania with the help of this fascinating new publication, written specifically to provide the keys to understanding the significance and meaning of Oceanic art. How to Read Oceanic Art is a clear and detailed introduction to Oceanic art as seen through the Met's comprehensive collection. I recently spoke with the book's author, Eric Kjellgren—formerly the Evelyn A. J. Hall and John A. Friede Associate Curator for Oceanic Art in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas—about this engaging introduction to Oceanic art and his interest in the artistic traditions of the Pacific Islands.

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The Art of the Chinese Album

Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2014

During the summer of 1644, the city of Nanjing lived beneath a cloud of anxiety and fear. The once-vibrant southern capital of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) had become home to the remnants of the Ming court, a bedraggled and shaken group who had fled south after the fall of Beijing in April of that year. The shock of seeing their capital fall, of witnessing their young emperor retreat behind the Forbidden City and commit suicide—these were the traumas that the court brought south to Nanjing. Even as they struggled to establish a temporary capital in the south, up north the Manchus prepared to complete their conquest of the empire. Like a city preparing for the arrival of a hurricane, Nanjing waited, and feared.

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What's That? A Closer Look at Objects in the Jabach Portrait

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

​Those of us who work in museums are as curious as any visitor to know about all the objects that fill a given painting. In the case of Charles Le Brun's Jabach portrait, a painting of a well-to-do family in a luxurious Parisian residence, there's a lot to catch your eye; we see a number of things the family must have owned and treasured.

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Opening of the Met's New David H. Koch Plaza

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It is a great day for the Met and a great day for the City of New York. More than a century after the completion of the Met's Fifth Avenue facade and forty years after its last plaza renovation, the Museum has revived one of the great outdoor spaces in New York.

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The New Met App

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm pleased to announce the launch of the Met app created by the Museum's Digital Media Department. This free digital resource is the easiest way for the Met community, both local and global, to stay current with what's happening at the Museum every day—wherever you are.

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The Conservation Continues: Revealing Jabach's Daughter Anna Maria

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The cleaning of the Jabach portrait is going well, and we in Paintings Conservation are all transfixed by the exceptional quality of the painting. One area I was particularly looking forward to seeing without the yellowed varnish was the beautiful figure of Jabach's daughter Anna Maria. She really anchors the right-hand side of the composition, and her self-aware, direct gaze pulls us into the Jabach family's rarefied world. Below are some photographs that I took during the cleaning.

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A Master of Design, A Master of Tapestry: Recognizing Pieter Coecke van Aelst

Elizabeth Cleland, Associate Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The upcoming exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (on view October 8, 2014–January 11, 2015) is the story, told through more than sixty astonishing objects, of a startlingly forward-thinking designer and entrepreneur—one who just happened to be born in 1502.

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A Stone Sphere from Costa Rica

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In June 2014 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named the "Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís" to its World Heritage List, the first cultural site from Costa Rica to make the list of global heritage sites. The team from the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, led by archaeologist Dr. Francisco Corrales Ulloa, nominated these sites as an "outstanding representation of the complex social, economic and political systems, as well as the refined cultural achievements, of chiefdom societies of the south Central American region during the pre-Columbian period a.d. 500–1500."

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Le Brun's Jabach: Who's Got the Best?

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Well, if you live in New York and work at the Metropolitan Museum, there's really only one acceptable answer to that question! But what happens when two versions of a picture exist, as is the case with the Metropolitan's new painting by Charles Le Brun of the German banker Everhard Jabach (1618–1695)? I worried about this as we entered into negotiations for the purchase of the picture.

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Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.