Hemingway

Greek and Roman art curator Seán Hemingway speaks about his grandfather Ernest Hemingway's favorite works of art.

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Whenever I look at The Harvesters, it grabs me. And it's that emotion that my grandfather was talking about.

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  • Seán Hemingway
    1280851
  • Ernest Hemingway  |  1957  |  Yousuf Karsh (Canadian, born Turkey)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Gift of Harry Kahn, 1986 (1986.1098.12)  |  © Yousuf Karsh
    8181024
  • Ernest Hemingway on safari, Serengeti Plain, Kenya, 1934.  |  Image courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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  • Pauline, Gregory, Ernest, John, and Patrick Hemingway with four marlins on the dock in Bimini, July 20, 1935.  |  Image courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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  • Ernest Hemingway bathes aboard the S.S. Jagiello en route from Genoa to Cuba, April/May 1949.  |  Image courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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  • Lieutenant Ernest Hemingway in his ambulance driver's uniform of World War I, Milan, 1918.  |  Image courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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  • Violin and Playing Cards  |  1913  |  Juan Gris (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.14)
    6671024
  • Gertrude Stein  |  1905–6  |  Pablo Picasso (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106)  |  © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    8291024
  • Gertrude Stein  |  1905–6  |  Pablo Picasso (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106)  |  © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    8591024
  • Rocks in the Forest  |  1890s  |  Paul Cézanne (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.194)
    12801016
  • Rocks in the Forest  |  1890s  |  Paul Cézanne (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.194)
    11981024
  • Vines and Olive Trees, Tarragona  |  1919  |  Joan Miró (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.48)  |  © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    12801017
  • Vines and Olive Trees, Tarragona  |  1919  |  Joan Miró (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.48)  |  © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    1280815
  • Bullfight in a Divided Ring  |  Attributed to Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1922 (22.181)
    1280995
  • And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)  |  1810–23  |  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    12181024
  • And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)  |  1810–23  |  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    11301024
  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    1280946
  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
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  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
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  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
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  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    1280946
  • View of Toledo  |  ca. 1597  |  El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.6)
    9141024
  • View of Toledo  |  El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.6)
    11791024
  • Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan)  |  Kamakura period (1185–1333), 14th century  |  Unidentified artist  |  Kyoto, Japan  |  Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and color on silk  |  Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.134.10)
    9611024
  • Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan)  |  Kamakura period (1185–1333), 14th century  |  Unidentified artist  |  Kyoto, Japan  |  Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and color on silk  |  Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.134.10)
    1280924
  • "Hemingway" by Seán Hemingway
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  • My name is Seán Hemingway, I'm a curator in the department of Greek and Roman art, and I'm going to be talking about my grandfather, Ernest Hemingway and the Metropolitan Museum.

  • When most people conjure an image of my grandfather, they think of the iconic picture by Yousuf Karsh. This was even my own experience growing up as a child, since my grandfather died before I was born. He was this iconic figure in our family.

  • As I grew older and got to know him through his writing

  • and through my parents, both of whom knew him closely, I've come closer to him.

  • It is well known that Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

  • What is not well known is that he loved to come to the Metropolitan Museum when he was in New York and look at paintings. In fact, he had a small but very fine collection

  • of paintings of his own, by well-known artists such as Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Paul Klee, and others. One of the people from whom Hemingway first learned to appreciate painting

  • was Gertrude Stein. Some of her advice to him was not to buy clothes, but to save your money and buy art. When I look at that painting, I think of my grandfather as a young man in Paris in the 1920s

  • sitting in Ms. Stein's salon, listening to her talk, while admiring the paintings, like that one by Picasso, and others by Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Paul Cezanne.

  • My grandfather wrote that he learned from studying Cezanne's paintings how to describe landscapes. Cezanne looked at landscape and

  • broke it down into its essential elements and then put it back together using pure swatches of color.

  • My grandfather's favorite painting in his own collection was the seminal work by Joan Miró, The Farm. The Met has a very fine painting from that same period, a Catalan landscape entitled Vines and Olive Trees in Tarragona. And it's that same region around the farm where Miró grew up and painted in the first part of his life.

  • Miró was very happy that my grandfather purchased that painting. It was before Miró's career really took off. My grandfather was thrilled to buy it and it hung in his home for the rest of his life.

  • My grandfather was especially enamored of the great Spanish painters. He greatly admired Goya's paintings and etchings of bullfighting and he even owned a copy of his series of

  • the Disasters of War. Those images of war are very graphic and strong reminders for him. Hemingway

  • bore witness to some of the most horrific and important conflicts of the first half of the 20th century.

  • Hemingway was interested in how great painters achieved their masterpieces. About The Harvesters, he said that the geometry of the wheat created a powerful emotion

  • Whenever I look at The Harvesters, it grabs me. It gets me every time when I look at that painting. And it's that emotion that my grandfather was talking about.

  • And I think it's also very true of his writing. His prose style is very simplistic in a way; it's very straightforward.

  • And yet a tremendous amount of effort and craft went into creating every one of those sentences.

  • He fashioned that style, in the same way that Bruegel fashioned his painting.

  • My grandfather's favorite painting at the Met was the View of Toledo by El Greco. El Greco represents the essence of Toledo, it's not a strictly representative image of the city. El Greco

  • lived in Toledo for so many years and he knew it, and my grandfather always said, "Write about what you know, because you have a much better chance of getting it right."When I think about one of my own favorite paintings at the Met, it's a completely different work,

  • The Death of the Buddha, a Japanese scroll painting of the 14th century. I think part of what I'm attracted to in that painting is how beautifully preserved it is, how remarkable that we have this work. We don't know the artist's

  • name, and yet it's such a magnificent painting of the death of the Buddha. He includes everyone who comes to mourn the loss of this great figure. And I think my grandfather could have seen this painting here at the museum. I don't know if he ever did,

  • but I think he really would have enjoyed it.

  • 1986.1098.12
    Ernest Hemingway, 1957, Yousuf Karsh (Canadian, born Turkey), Gelatin silver print Gift of Harry Kahn, 1986 (1986.1098.12) © Yousuf Karsh
  • 1996.403.14
    Violin and Playing Cards, 1913, Juan Gris (Spanish), Oil on canvas Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.14)
  • 47.106
    Gertrude Stein, 1905–6, Pablo Picasso (Spanish), Oil on canvas Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106) © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • 29.100.194
    Rocks in the Forest, 1890s, Paul Cézanne (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.194)
  • 1999.363.48
    Vines and Olive Trees, Tarragona, 1919, Joan Miró (Spanish), Oil on canvas Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.48) © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • 22.181
    Bullfight in a Divided Ring, Attributed to Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1922 (22.181)
  • 32.62.17
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio), 1810–23, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
  • 19.164
    The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Oil on wood Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
  • 29.100.6
    View of Toledo, ca. 1597, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.6)
  • 12.134.10
    Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan), Kamakura period (1185–1333), 14th century, Unidentified artist, Kyoto, Japan, Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and color on silk Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.134.10)
  • Ernest Hemingway, 1957, Yousuf Karsh (Canadian, born Turkey), Gelatin silver print Gift of Harry Kahn, 1986 (1986.1098.12) © Yousuf Karsh
    Violin and Playing Cards, 1913, Juan Gris (Spanish), Oil on canvas Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.14)
    Gertrude Stein, 1905–6, Pablo Picasso (Spanish), Oil on canvas Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106) © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Rocks in the Forest, 1890s, Paul Cézanne (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.194)
    Vines and Olive Trees, Tarragona, 1919, Joan Miró (Spanish), Oil on canvas Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.48) © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    Bullfight in a Divided Ring, Attributed to Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1922 (22.181)
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio), 1810–23, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Oil on wood Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    View of Toledo, ca. 1597, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.6)
    Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan), Kamakura period (1185–1333), 14th century, Unidentified artist, Kyoto, Japan, Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and color on silk Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.134.10)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Ernest Hemingway
    1957
    Yousuf Karsh (Canadian, born Turkey)
    Gelatin silver print
    Gift of Harry Kahn, 1986 (1986.1098.12)
    © Yousuf Karsh
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Violin and Playing Cards
    1913
    Juan Gris (Spanish)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.14)
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Gertrude Stein
    1905–6
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106)
    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    On view: Gallery 830
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Rocks in the Forest
    1890s
    Paul Cézanne (French)
    Oil on canvas
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.194)
    On view: Gallery 825
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Vines and Olive Trees, Tarragona
    1919
    Joan Miró (Spanish)
    Oil on canvas
    Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.48)
    © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    On view: Gallery 906
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Bullfight in a Divided Ring
    Attributed to Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)
    Oil on canvas
    Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1922 (22.181)
    On view: Gallery 612
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)
    1810–23
    Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)
    Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    The Harvesters
    1565
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)
    Oil on wood
    Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    On view: Gallery 642
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    View of Toledo
    ca. 1597
    El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek)
    Oil on canvas
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.6)
    On view: Gallery 611
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan)
    Kamakura period (1185–1333), 14th century
    Unidentified artist
    Kyoto, Japan
    Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and color on silk
    Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.134.10)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art