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Making the MET: 1870-2020

The Met 's signature 150th anniversary show takes visitors on an unforgettable, thought-provoking journey through the history of one of the world's leading cultural institutions. Image courtesy of The Met

New York has many charms. Too many. Every year, we try to bring out the colors of the city by looking for the novelties, the openings, and the neighborhoods to which to dedicate a couple of days... and try to understand how this magnanimous living being breathes day by day. But beyond 'the new', the city boasts great classics (what would New York be without its Central Park, for example) and museums that bring together the best summary of the History of Humanity room by room. This is the case of the MET (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020. We've already told you about the exhibitions, events and celebratory activities but... it's time to know all their secrets:

The original building was swallowed up by the works.

The MET opened its doors in 1870 but not in its original location but much further down, on Fifth Avenue itself, near what, decades later, would become Rockefeller Center. The museum changed location once again until it reached the eastern shore of Central Park in 1880 but soon became too small. In successive enlargements, the original building was completely swallowed up by the new wings.

How the Met was made. 1870 – 2020

In 2020, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Among other festivities, the New York institution is preparing to receive an exceptional donation of more than 700 old photographs and will organize an exhibition event starting March 30.

2020 marks an anniversary date for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Founded in 1870 to "create a museum that brings art and education to the American people," the institution celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. On this occasion, the Met received a pharaonic pledge from Philip and Jennifer Maritz. The couple donated over 700 photographs (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, salted paper prints, etc.), dating from the 1840s to the 1910s, from the collection of Drew Knowlton and William L. Schaeffer. The museum also acquires 70 Civil War photographs from the same collection thanks to a donation by Joyce Frank Menschel. The inclusion of these two sets of works in the institution's collections will allow the museum to illustrate little-known American masters "whose lives and works have yet to be fully studied and presented to the general public. These photographs of all formats taken from the birth of the medium to the modern era will allow the Met to rewrite a more complete history of American photography in its galleries.

An anniversary exhibition.

Visitors checking out the art during the anniversary.

Who says gifts, or here donations, birthday gifts, also says festivities. From March 30 to August 2, the exhibition "Making The Met, 1870-2020" will present more than 250 varied works from the museum's collection, including fragile treasures that can only be shown to the public occasionally. These include a statue of the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut (c. 1479-1458 BC), sheets from Michelangelo's Studies for the Libyan Sibyl, a bronze of Degas' Little Dancer, and the monumental work Dusasa II (2007) by El Anatsui. With the help of archival photographs and digital devices, visitors will travel immersed in the history of the Met to understand the aspirations of its founders, its role in wartime, and the challenges of archaeological discoveries.

Celebrating the museum's new donations and acquisitions.

Visitors checking the new donation & acquisition.

The year 2020 will also mark the reopening of the English Decorative Arts and Design galleries located in the Annie Laurie Aitken and Josephine Mercy Heathcote galleries, starting March 2nd. Renovated for the first time since their respective inaugurations in 1995 and 1987, these galleries will display 700 sculptures, works of art and design created between 1500 and 1900, as well as three pieces reproducing 18th century interiors. This new tour will highlight the Met's new acquisitions, including 19th-century pieces purchased to complete the latter scenography.

Also to celebrate its 150 candles, the Met's different sites (Met Fifth Avenue, Met Breuer, Met Cloisters) will highlight the institution's latest acquisitions within their collections, which cover 5,000 years of art from around the world. For example, the Met will show Le Reniement de saint Pierre de Carrache, painted around 1616, a Greek statue representing a marble panther and a female nude by Picasso.

Making the Met, at The Met 5th Avenue, New York City, until January 3rd, 2021

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