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The American Wing

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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.

Teen Blog

Interviewing Sculptures at the Met

Floraine, Former High School Intern

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014

As I travel through the galleries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one question always lingers in my mind: If these inanimate objects were able to speak, what would they say? I have taken on the task of "interviewing" three sculptures to break their silence and give us more insight into their lives and stories.

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

Final Reflections on The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925

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

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The special exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 closed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday, April 13. Nearly one thousand people visited the galleries on the last day, bringing the total number of visitors to over 108,000 people since the exhibition opened on December 18, 2013. For the next few days, we will be working closely with art handlers, registrars, and conservators to see that the sixty-five sculptures and three paintings are safely de-installed and packed for transport, most of them to the exhibition's second venue at the Denver Art Museum, where it will be on view May 11 through August 31, 2014. The post-closing period also involves thanking lenders and sponsors; sorting out research used for the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue; and writing final reports. I look forward to traveling to Nanjing, China, for the September 29 opening of the exhibition at its third venue, the Nanjing Museum, where it will remain on view through January 18, 2015. Meanwhile, back here at the Met, we will be shifting gears from western bronze sculpture to Rediscovering Thomas Hart Benton's America Today Mural, which will open September 30, 2014.

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

The American West in Bronze Travels to Denver

Shannon Vittoria, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, The American Wing

Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Sunday, April 13, is the final day to see The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 at the Met. After the show closes in New York, it will travel to its second venue, opening at the Denver Art Museum on Sunday, May 11. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain region, Denver is an opportune setting for an exhibition of western bronzes. The Denver Art Museum is also home to the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, founded in 2001 and dedicated to promoting the significance of the West in American art and culture. Denver thus provides a new geographic and intellectual context for The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

"The Spirit of the Pioneer Woman"

Shannon Vittoria, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, The American Wing

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014

On April 22, 1930, Bryant Baker's seventeen-foot bronze statue Pioneer Woman was unveiled in Ponca City, Oklahoma, before a crowd of forty thousand spectators. At the dedication ceremony, patron Ernest W. Marland—oil man, philanthropist, and the tenth governor of Oklahoma—described the commission: "We have erected monuments to our war heroes, to the hearty pioneers who wrested from the wilderness, from the plains and from the desert this nation of ours, but have we preserved the memory of the women…who married their men and set out with them on their conquest of the west, faced with them the months of arduous toil and terrible dangers?…With this monument I hope to preserve for the children of our children the story of our mothers' fight and toil and courage."

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Teen Blog

A True Pioneer

Emily Z., TAG Member

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014

The sculpture Pioneer Woman in the current exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 caught my attention because it depicts a woman. Before you roll your eyes and claim that I am stating the obvious, bear with me! The field of American Western art is dominated by renditions of men and animals, so Bryant Baker's sculpture offers a unique approach to capturing the West. The very fact that Pioneer Woman focuses on a pioneer woman makes it noteworthy, but the meaning of the work is more elusive than just its subject matter.

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

Charles M. Russell and The Elusive Buffalo Hunt

Shannon Vittoria, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, The American Wing

Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In 1905, Charles M. Russell—America's "Cowboy Artist"—cast his first bronze sculpture depicting the Plains Indian buffalo hunt. It was a theme he began painting as early as 1890, and one that he would return to throughout his career, producing more than fifty buffalo hunt paintings and sculptures by the time of his death in 1926.

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Teen Blog

Reflections on the West through Bronze

Karl, TAG Member

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sculptures capture emotions and body movements, which, in my opinion, makes them more relatable than paintings. The sculptures in the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 really evoke the American West, and the details bring the pieces to life. Cast in different sizes and displayed on pedestals of different heights, the pieces create an effect like a mountain range. The ridges and valleys work to draw your attention to each piece, no matter its size, and the lack of conformity allows the viewer to allocate time to each sculpture and absorb its details.

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

Theodore Roosevelt: Patron of American Western Bronzes

Shannon Vittoria, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, The American Wing

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Led by Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, the First United States Volunteer Calvary, better known as the Rough Riders, was a rag-tag group of cowboys, ranchers, American Indians, and college athletes recruited to fight in the Spanish-American War. Participating in the Battle of Las Guásimas, the Battle of San Juan Hill, and the Siege of Santiago, the troop helped bring the war to a victorious close, returning home from Cuba on August 14, 1898. In honor of Roosevelt's leadership and service, the Rough Riders presented him with a cast of Frederic Remington's The Broncho Buster (currently on display in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925). Upon receiving the statuette, Roosevelt said to his to men, "To have such a gift come from this peculiarly American regiment touches me more than I can say. This is something I shall hand down to my children, and I shall value it more than I do the weapons I carried through the campaign."

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American West in Bronze Exhibition Blog

The North American Bison in Sculpture

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

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nearly every turn-of-the-twentieth-century sculptor of western themes, whether an animal specialist or not, at some point modeled the bison, the largest North American mammal. Whether poised or active, static or frenetic, the bison appears as the principle subject in six sculptures in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.

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Teen Blog

The American West: Times Change, Places Change, and We Reflect

Natalee, TAG Member; and Tiffany, TAG Member

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The first object seen upon entering the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 is a buffalo, perhaps one of the most important symbols of the American West. This sculpture, Henry Merwin Shrady's Buffalo, stands in front of a blown-up chromolithograph of a herd of wild buffalo, and showcases the exhibition's unique point of view, blending the artists' and patrons' fondest memories and wildest dreams of what the vast, "untouched" frontier meant. Nostalgia and excitement abound in the exhibition, as brave pioneers conquer the West and search for the American Dream.

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