Art and the Empire City
New York, 1825–1861
September 19, 2000–January 7, 2001
Accompanied by a catalogue
By the second quarter of the nineteenth century, New York City—already the nation's financial center—was poised to become a "world city" on a par with London and Paris. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, which linked the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River, the great port of New York became the gateway to the West, assuring the city's commercial preeminence. Over the next thirty-five years, until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, New York grew rapidly, becoming the "Empire City"—the largest city in the Western Hemisphere, and the nation's center of domestic and foreign trade, culture, and the arts. This landmark exhibition explores the history of American art during this time through works created in and for New York City. On view are more than three hundred objects—paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, maps and architectural drawings, decorative arts, and costumes—from American and European collections, as well as from the Metropolitan's holdings.