The Robert Lehman Collection – numbering nearly 3,000 works of art and one of the most extraordinary private art collections ever assembled in the United States – was presented to the Metropolitan Museum by the Robert Lehman Foundation in 1969, following Mr. Lehman's death. The collection was assembled by Mr. Lehman and his parents, and is housed today in The Robert Lehman Wing, which opened to the public in 1975, and which contains galleries that were specially designed to reflect the ambience of the Lehman house in New York City.
The collection is particularly strong in Italian paintings of the Renaissance, especially paintings of the Sienese school, including works by Ugolino da Siena, Simone Martini, Giovanni di Paolo, and the mysterious Osservanza Master. Florentine painters are also well represented – outstanding among them is Botticelli's Annunciation. Other well-known Italian paintings include a rare pair of portraits of the Emilian school and important panels by the Venetians, such as Jacometto Veneziano and Giovanni Bellini.
The Lehman Collection also is distinguished for an important group of early northern masters, including Petrus Christus, Hans Memling, the Master of Moulins (Jean Hey), and Hans Holbein. Other strengths are in Dutch and Spanish paintings, notably those by Rembrandt, El Greco, and Goya, and French masterworks of the 19th and 20th centuries by such artists as Ingres and Renoir, and by the most important post-Impressionists and Fauves.
The collection of more than 700 Old Master drawings is world-renowned, including rare early Italian works, important sheets by Durer, Rembrandt, and Flemish masters, a large group of French works of the 19th and 20th centuries, and close to two hundred 18th-century Venetian drawings.
Renaissance majolica, Venetian glass, bronzes, furniture, enamels, jewelry, and textiles form the core of an outstanding group of decorative arts. The collection also holds one of the largest collections of antique frames in the world.
The Robert Lehman Wing has become a leading resource center, particularly for the study of Renaissance culture, through exhibitions of its own and other materials, the publication of catalogues of the collection, and a specialized library that is open to scholars and students.
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