Ever since its establishment in 1870 the Museum has acquired important examples of American Art. A separate "American Wing" building to display the domestic arts of the seventeenth–early nineteenth centuries opened in 1924; paintings galleries and an enclosed sculpture court were added in 1980.
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
I first encountered John Singer Sargent's portrait of Charles Deering in 1999 while visiting the home of a distinguished collector. I had been ushered into the dining room, where my eyes went immediately to the dazzling image of the older man, lithe and relaxed, lounging in a wicker chair in a lush, tropical setting. While I had never seen the portrait, I recognized Sargent's work immediately. The artist's delight in rendering light and shadow across the sitter's crinkled white suit recalls the splendid textiles of formal portraits such as Ada Rehan. The setting—painted in a bright palette and fluid style—echoes Sargent's watercolor technique and relates to several works in the Met's collection also painted during his visit to Florida in 1917. Currently on view in Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, the painter's image of Deering seamlessly blends aspects of portraiture and landscape painting to create a unique and candid masterpiece.
Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015
During the installation of Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, while co-curator Stephanie Herdrich and I were deciding where to hang Sargent's portraits in their respective locations in the galleries, we were struck by the artist's luscious rendering of fabrics, particularly their vibrant colors and patterns. In many instances, his subject's attire—which Sargent often dictated—sets the mood for the portrait and vies for attention with the sitter's likeness. In other cases, the costume creates a fascinating foil, revealed in the face of his subject.
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Have you ever viewed an artwork and wondered how it was made? The Met's collection is full of art that inspires us to ponder its creation, but the Museum rarely reveals the many steps that were taken to create the final work of art.
Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015
Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton is often recognized as the leader of Regionalism, the 1930s artistic movement that celebrated rural life in the United States, but few know that New York was his home from 1912 to 1935. In 1930, he received his first major commission for a mural from the New School of Social Research. Called America Today, that mural is the subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest Bulletin, published to accompany the acquisition of the mural as a gift from AXA in November 2012 and its installation at the Met.
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Artists often tell us that the Met is their favorite museum to visit, and their comments on works in the collection are among the most insightful one can hear (see, for instance, the fantastic results of The Artist Project, where a hundred artists respond to objects in the Museum's galleries are being assembled—forty episodes are already up). I was thrilled, then, when my colleagues Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser and Stephanie Herdrich asked for my advice last January about living artists they might approach to contribute to the Audio Guide for Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends. I agreed with them that an artist's voice, particularly in the context of an exhibition of a painter's portraits of his friends and acquaintances, would be vital and exciting.
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Visitors to Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends will notice a special feature in the exhibition's reading room: an installation of twenty-one drawings and watercolors by John Singer Sargent from the Metropolitan Museum's extensive holdings. Chosen to complement the themes of the exhibition, these works represent the wide range of Sargent's efforts on paper. They reveal his technical brilliance as a watercolorist and draftsman, the diversity of his oeuvre during more candid moments, and his sensuous appreciation of the human figure—especially that of the male.
Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Welcome to the blog for Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, on view through October 4, 2015. In weekly posts throughout the run of the exhibition, we'll look more closely at the life and work of John Singer Sargent, explore some of the themes of the exhibition in depth, and take a look behind the scenes at how the show came together. You'll hear from me and other colleagues in The American Wing and throughout the Museum. I will be moderating the blog and look forward to your comments.