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September 2009


Curator Interview

Hispanic Heritage

Robert Frank


Editor’s Picks

New Met Store

Dear Subscriber,

Autumn is an art aficionado’s delight at the Met, with seven special exhibitions opening in September alone. We’re offering an array of programs—lectures, panel discussions, family orientations—free with Museum admission. Of course, our permanent collection is always here for you to browse, and with so many wonderful works of art, you’re certain to find new favorites.

Our new season of Concerts & Lectures begins in September. Weekend programming has been expanded so there are more opportunities for you to attend concerts, lectures, and films.

Image: View on the Catskill—Early Autumn (detail), 1836–37, Thomas Cole (1801–1848). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift in memory of Jonathan Sturges by his children, 1895 (95.13.3).

Curator Interview: Featured Work of Art

On September 10, the Museum will present the exhibition Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid in celebration of the loan of The Milkmaid from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. The painting, perhaps Vermeer’s most admired, is being lent on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage. Walter Liedtke, curator in the Department of European Paintings, recently spoke with Met News editor Jennette Mullaney about this extraordinary work of art.

Vermeer and other Dutch artists from this period often included objects or motifs to represent concepts that contemporary viewers would have understood. Vermeer appears to have been more subtle, but are there symbols in The Milkmaid that you can unpack for the modern viewer?
One important detail is the foot warmer in the right background. It is next to a Delft tile which is at the baseboard level of the wall and represents Cupid with a bow. Those two things together suggest that the woman or the viewer (it’s not especially clear here) was probably thinking of love. The foot warmer often suggested amorous thoughts; when it occurs in Dutch genre paintings in the right context, it’s immediately understood as warm thoughts. The origin of this idea is indelicate: women would put their feet on foot warmers and, because they wore long skirts, it would warm everything from their toes to their waist—that’s why it suggests arousal.

Continue reading the interview.

Image: The Milkmaid, ca. 1657–1658. Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675). Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

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Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15, at the Met.

The Arts of Latin America
Visit the Jan Mitchell Treasury for Precolumbian Works of Art in Gold, which houses the most comprehensive display of ancient American gold objects in the world. Look nearby for beautiful works in ceramic and jadeite. For more recent works by Latin American artists, such as Diego Rivera and Matta, visit the galleries of modern art. Opening on Tuesday, September 15, the special exhibition Surface Tension: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection will feature works by the contemporary artists Miguel Rio Branco and Vik Muniz.

Learn more about Latin American art with essays from our Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History concerning Art of the Americas, Mesoamerica and Central America, and South America.

The Arts of Spain
Stunning examples of Spanish art can be found in the Main Building and The Cloisters Museum and Gardens. Spanish sculptures, paintings, drawings, and works in many other mediums are on display in galleries throughout the Main Building.

Search through our Heilbrunn Timeline to find essays on Spanish art throughout the ages. Highlights include Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, and art of the Umayyad period.

These screenings are free with Museum admission.

The Walls of Mexico: Art and Architecture (1993)
Tuesday, September 22, 2:00 p.m.
The Walls of Mexico: Art and Architecture is an introduction to the work of architect Luis Barragán, one of the foremost practitioners of midcentury modernism in Mexico.

Visiones: Latino Art and Culture, Parts 1 and 2 (2004)
Thursday, October 8, 2:00 p.m.
This film looks at contemporary Latino artistic expression in the United States.

Gallery Talk
The Patio from Vélez Blanco
Tuesday, September 15, and Thursday, October 1
The richly carved patio from the castle of Vélez Blanco is a remarkable example of 16th-century Renaissance architecture.

Image: Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670), 1650, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish, 1599–1660). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86).

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Exhibition-Related Audio Guides

An Audio Guide tour is available for Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid (opening September 10). In addition, we will be offering a special Audio Guide for Watteau, Music, and Theater (opening September 22) that will provide musical accompaniment selected specially for the exhibition. See Audio Guide for a complete list of tours related to other special exhibitions and to our permanent collection.


Robert Frank

Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans
Opens September 22

This exhibition will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Americans, Robert Frank’s influential suite of black-and-white photographs made on a cross-country road trip in 1955–56. Although Frank’s depiction of American life was criticized when the book was released in the United States in 1959, it soon became recognized as a masterpiece of street photography. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank is considered one of the great living masters of photography. For more information, including sponsorship credits, see the exhibition preview.

These programs are free with Museum admission.

Sunday at the Met
October 4, 2:00 p.m.
Examine Robert Frank’s The Americans during this special program. Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator in the Department of Photographs and organizer of the exhibition, introduces the event and moderates a panel discussion on "Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac, and Avant-garde Visual Culture of the Late 1950s." Following the discussion is a screening of the award-winning biographical film, Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (2005), directed by Gerald Fox.

On Tuesday, September 29, and Thursday, October 1, see films directed by Robert Frank.

Subscription Lecture
An Evening with Robert Frank
In a rare New York City appearance, Robert Frank will discuss his career in photography and film and the conception, execution, and response to his groundbreaking book of photographs, The Americans. Purchase tickets online.

Image: Rodeo—New York City, 1954. Robert Frank (American, b. Switzerland, 1924). Collection of Barbara and Eugene Schwartz, Photograph © Robert Frank, from The Americans.

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Met Holiday Monday: Labor Day

The Main Building of the Metropolitan Museum—select galleries, public restaurants, and shops—will be open on Monday, September 7. See the online calendar to plan your visit.



Ancient Afghanistan—at the crossroads of major trade routes and the focus of invasions by great powers and nomadic migrations—was home to some of the most complex, rich, and original civilizations on the continent of Asia. Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul celebrates the unique role of Afghanistan as a center for both the reception of diverse cultural elements and the creation of original styles of art that combine multiple stylistic materials. It commemorates the heroic rescue of the heritage of one of the world’s great civilizations, whose precious treasures were thought to have been destroyed. For more information, including sponsorship credits, see the exhibition preview.

Be sure to see the exhibition before it closes on Sunday, September 20.

These two films, free with Museum admission, will be held in conjunction with "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul."

Kandahar (2001)
Tuesday, September 15, 2:00 p.m.

The Kite Runner (2007)
Thursday, September 17, 2:00 p.m.

The Charles K. Wilkinson Lecture Series may be of interest to those who want to learn more about the arts of Afghanistan. Lecture subjects include "Tillya Tepe and the Echoes of Greece and China" and "From the King of the Mountains to the Second Alexander: Going Global in Medieval Afghanistan." This series will be held on Wednesday, September 9, at 2:00 p.m. and is free with Museum admission.

Subscription Lecture
Afghanistan Today
Peter Bergen, print and television journalist, will deliver a lecture on Afghanistan’s recent history, drawing on his personal experiences during his many visits to the region. The film The Giant Buddhas will be screened following the lecture. Purchase tickets online.

Image: Bracket with a female riding a fantastic creature, 1st–2nd century A.D. Afghanistan, Begram. National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, 04.1.116
Photo: © Thierry Ollivier / Musée Guimet

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Editor’s Picks

Don’t miss these events, which are free with Museum admission.

Sunday at the Met—Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art
September 13, 3:00 p.m.
This event will be held in conjunction with the special exhibition Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two lectures will focus on Beaux-Arts sculptor Saint-Gaudens’s interactions with two late-19th-century creative nexuses: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cornish, New Hampshire, where the artist had his summer home and studio.

Friday, September 18, 6:00 p.m.
Author and independent scholar Marcello Simonetta will speak about "The Gubbio Studiolo, Botticelli, and Lorenzo de’ Medici: Patronage and Vendetta in Renaissance Italy."

Friday, September 25, 10:00 a.m.
This one-day symposium gathers leading international scholars to discuss a variety of topics related to the special exhibition Imperial Privilege: Vienna Porcelain of Du Paquier, 1718–44, which opens on September 22. The morning session, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., features a welcome speech, opening remarks, and four lectures. The afternoon session, from 2:00 to 4:45 p.m. includes three lectures and a panel discussion.

Family Orientations
To acquaint our youngest guests with select exhibitions, we provide hour-long slide introductions. Join us on October 3, 10, 17, or 24 for an orientation on Watteau, Music, and Theater. Stop by on any Sunday in October for an orientation on Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid.

Image: Richard Watson Gilder, Helena de Kay Gilder, and Rodman de Kay Gilder, 1879; this cast, ca. 1883–84, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848–1907). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of David and Joshua Gilder, 2002 (2002.445).

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The Cloisters

Immerse yourself in the art and architecture of medieval Europe at The Cloisters Museum and Gardens.

To learn more about the plants and gardens of The Cloisters, see our blog The Medieval Garden Enclosed.


The New Met Store

The Met Store online is now even easier to navigate and offers an enhanced shopping experience, where you can create an account, view your order history, and update your communication preferences, among other features.

This month’s featured item is the Egyptian Turquoise Disk Necklace. This striking piece is based on an original necklace of disk-shaped faience beads, now in the Museum’s collection.

Member Price: $121.50 • Non-Member Price: $135.00

Please note that Members must register and sign in to receive their Member discount.

Visit The Met Store’s new site today!

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