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News Item: 00041
4th Dec 2007
Met reopens expanded & renovated galleries
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's renovated and expanded Galleries for 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture will reopen on December 4, 2007. The newly refurbished galleries - which occupy nearly 35,000 square feet, including 8,000 square feet of new exhibition space named the Henry J. Heinz II Galleries in recognition of a major gift made by his widow, the long-time Metropolitan Museum Trustee Drue Heinz - will showcase European paintings from the Museum's world-renowned collection, dating from 1800 through the early 20th century. This new presentation will feature a more thorough display of the Museum's 19th-century collection, augmented with seminal works from the early modern era.

"This grand new space simply would not have been possible without the generous support of our valued friend Drue Heinz," commented Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. "A passionate collector and devotee of French and British painting, Drue has been a major benefactor to the Met, and as we prepare to celebrate the opening of the Henry J. Heinz II Galleries, we thank Drue and her late husband for all they have done for the Met over many, many years."

The new Henry J. Heinz II Galleries will feature four intimately scaled rooms for the display of small plein-air paintings, including important promised gifts from Wheelock Whitney III by artists such as Simon Denis, Camille Corot, Achille Michallon, and Charles Rémond, and recent gifts from Eugene V. Thaw by artists such as Carl Rottmann, Carl Christian Constantin Hansen, and Carl Gustav Carus. For the first time in any American museum, the complete history of 19th-century European outdoor landscape painting is displayed in the context of its permanent collection. Further, the gallery devoted to Caspar David Friedrich, his students, and close associates is the first to appear in this country.

Notable new additions will also include the full installation of The Wisteria Dining Room, an Art Nouveau dining room designed by Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer shortly before World War I; Henry Lerolle's large canvas The Organ Rehearsal (a church interior of 1885), recently cleaned; a group of newly acquired 19th-century landscape oil sketches; and a selection of rarely exhibited paintings by an international group of artists from Frederic, Lord Leighton to Joaquín Sorolla. Because the Museum's early modern art will now be incorporated into the display, the galleries will also feature work by Bonnard, Vuillard, Modigliani, Matisse, and Picasso.

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has made possible the reinstallation of The Wisteria Dining Room.

A gallery devoted to Orientalist paintings - including Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1871 Prayer in the Mosque - has been designated the Kenneth Jay Lane Gallery in recognition of generous support from Mr. Lane.

While the Museum's American Paintings and Sculpture Galleries are being renovated, a selection of the greatest and most popular paintings by 19th-century American artists who studied, lived, or worked in Europe will also be on view in the Galleries for 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture. This unprecedented arrangement at the Museum offers a rare opportunity to see John Singer Sargent's celebrated portraits Madame X, The Wyndham Sisters, and Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes in a gallery near Édouard Manet's portraits, which are related in their date, scale, and association with the legacy of Velázquez. Other highlights will include works by Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, and James McNeill Whistler.

The reopening of the galleries this fall also marks the return of 135 works comprising the successful traveling exhibition The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800-1920, which was visited by nearly 1,300,000 people during its recent showing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

The renovation and reinstallation of the galleries has been overseen by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge, Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and by Rebecca Rabinow, an Associate Curator in the same department.

For the first time in 20 years, the Metropolitan Museum will publish a compendium of its finest European paintings, about one-quarter of its celebrated European 19th- and early 20th-century works. Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800-1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with an introduction by Gary Tinterow and texts by Kathryn Calley Galitz, Asher E. Miller, Rebecca Rabinow, Sabine Rewald, Susan Alyson Stein, and Gary Tinterow will focus on French painting - of which the Museum possesses the most comprehensive collection outside of France - as well as extraordinary works by artists of other nationalities. Thanks to a succession of generous and discerning donors - such as the H. O. Havemeyers at the beginning of the 20th century and much more recently the Walter H. Annenbergs - this volume presents a stimulating and satisfying history of painting in Paris from Prud'hon to Picasso, by way of Delacroix, Corot, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Seurat, and many others. Special emphasis is given to the Romantic French, German, and British paintings that the Museum has acquired recently.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, New York, 10028-0198.
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