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March 2010

MET NEWS

Curator Interview

Women’s History Month

For Families

What’s Your Met Moment?

Medieval Art

Sundays at the Met

Dear Subscriber,

Let the Metropolitan Museum be your source of inspiration this March, whether you choose to attend a Women’s History Month program, learn about medieval art, introduce your family to the Met’s collection, or revisit works by a favorite artist.

Image: Mitjili Napurrula (Australian, Pintupi people, born ca. 1945). Watiya-Tjuta, 1999. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Private Collection. © The artist 2009, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency

Curator Interview: Featured Work of Art

The Horse Fair is a 16-foot-wide masterwork by French artist Rosa Bonheur. Rebecca Rabinow, associate curator in the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, recently spoke with Met News editor Jennette Mullaney about this popular painting.

The Horse Fair became one of the most celebrated works of the 19th century. What made it such a success?
When this painting was first exhibited in the Salon of 1853, the public was awed by its dynamism and energy. One art critic wrote the he had to suppress the urge to jump out of the way of the running horses. As you can see, the horses are almost life-size and beautifully painted. It may be difficult to imagine now, but at that time, animals—horses, cattle, sheep—were popular subject matter, and Bonheur was recognized as one of the best animal painters of her generation. It always surprises me when I read contemporary reviews of The Horse Fair because most of them mention the artist’s gender: "It would be a remarkable painting if it had been by a man, but it is extraordinary because it is by a woman," that kind of remark. For better or worse, the gender of the artist added to the painting’s cachet.

Bonheur retouched the canvas in 1855 (which is why she added the number "5" after the date on the lower right) and sold it to a British art dealer who exhibited it throughout England. Queen Victoria even requested that it be brought to Buckingham Palace for a private viewing. Images were not as widely available as they are today, so it is noteworthy that the etchings made after the painting were widely dispersed in Europe and America. The Horse Fair has been one of our most popular paintings ever since Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased it for the Met in 1887.

Continue reading the interview.

Image: Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822–1899). The Horse Fair, 1853–55. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1887 (87.25).

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Audio Guide

Listen to Assistant Curator of Japanese Art Sinéad Kehoe, in conversation with Senior Research Associate Masako Watanabe, discuss objects in the exhibition Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Packard Collection in the accompanying Audio Guide.

 

Women’s History Month

"At last, a woman on paper!" photographer Alfred Stieglitz supposedly exclaimed after seeing works by Georgia O’Keeffe. From O’Keeffe’s innovative paintings to "Coco" Chanel‘s bold designs to Beauty Nxgongo‘s masterful baskets, the contributions of women artists span genres, mediums, and cultures. Celebrate these accomplishments by attending special programs, exploring the Museum’s online resources, or touring the galleries with an eye out for works created by women.

Gallery Talks
Throughout the month, scholars will be giving gallery talks that focus on women in art. Learn about the lives of women in the Middle Ages through contemporary imagery; compare the depictions of women by Impressionists, including Mary Stevenson Cassatt and Berthe Morisot; or trace the development of female images in the art of South Asia. See the Met’s calendar for a full listing of gallery talks being held in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Films
Enjoy the following films that profile pioneering women:

The Lost Garden: The Life and Cinema of Alice Guy-Blaché (1995)
Tuesday, March 16, at 2:00 p.m.

Invitation to a Voyage: Eileen Gray, Designer and Architect (2007)
Thursday, March 18, at 2:00 p.m.

Sunday at the Met—Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage
March 7 at 2:00 p.m.
Aristocratic Victorian women experimented with photocollage, creating whimsical and fantastical compositions that sparkle with intellect, creativity, and sharp wit. This lecture event is being held in conjunction with the special exhibition Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage.

Programs for Children
Visitors ages five through twelve Look Again! to unlock the history, meaning, and cross-cultural connections of works of art. "Women Make Their Mark," "Think ‘Woman’," and "Women of the Ancient World" are among this month’s topics.

From the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Explore a wealth of scholarship about women artists on the Heilbrunn Timeline, such as Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and modern American storyteller Faith Ringgold. You can also read about the long and busy life of Candace Wheeler, a textile and interior designer who ambitiously promoted art and design as paying careers for women. And don’t miss an essay on West Asia that includes an inspiring section on women artists of that region.

Met Podcast Episodes
Listen to artists, curators, and other scholars discuss works of art, including Adeline Harris Sears‘s Autograph Quilt and paintings by Lilly Martin Spencer. Kara Walker describes the experience of organizing an exhibition at the Met that featured her own works as well those she had selected by other artists. Sokari Douglas Camp talks about her work and influences.

Image: Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926). Young Mother Sewing, 1900. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.48).

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Members Double Discount Days Begin March 8

Members save 20% online and in stores March 8–14. To receive your discount online, enter the code K102 at checkout. If you are not yet a Member, you may purchase a Membership now.

 

For Families

Our youngest guests will have a lot of fun with the following exciting activities. Please see our calendar for more family programs this month.

How Did They Do That?—American Marble Sculpture
Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
These half-hour sessions show kids ages three and above, through handling tools and materials, how a particular work of art was created.

Conservator Contact: Explore Tapestries and Textiles with Conservator Cristina Balloffet Carr
Saturday, March 6, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Children ages six through twelve can examine tools and materials like those used to create beautiful tapestries and other textiles.

A Month of Sundays—Dance!
March 28, April 11, 18, and 25, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Explore traditions of dancing from Europe, Asia, and the Americas by looking at postures and costumes in painting and sculpture, then incorporating them into movement. Preregistration is required and is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a fee of $200 per child (ages six through ten) for four classes (includes accompanying adult).

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief at the Met

Calling all demigods and mortals! Come to a talk by Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, and join in a variety of programs (PDF) related to The Lightning Thief and Greek mythology.

 

What’s Your Met Moment?

The Metropolitan Museum invites all visitors to share photographs of their most memorable moments spent with friends and family at the Met’s Main Building and The Cloisters Museum and Gardens.

What is a Met moment? It can be any time a work of art has made you stop, react, want to look longer, or learn more. Whether you’ve gotten lost in a landscape by Van Gogh or found serenity in a Chinese scroll, your photos should reflect the meaningful experiences you’ve enjoyed with others in the Museum’s galleries.

Join the Museum’s Flickr group to add your Met moments. Submit your photos to the pool with the tag "met_moment" and they will be included in a slide show. Let us know more about your Met moment by including a description with your photo or joining our discussion.

Image: Paintings by Paul Gauguin, including The Siesta, are on view in the 19th-Century Galleries.

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The Gift of Membership

A gift Membership enriches lives. Share the Met’s treasures with someone special and provide the Museum with important financial support.

 

Medieval Art

Discover the beauty and majesty of medieval art through two special exhibitions and an array of programs.

The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry
Through June 13
The Belles Heures (1405–1408/9) of Jean de Berry, a treasure of The Cloisters collection, is one of the most celebrated and lavishly illustrated manuscripts in the United States. Because the work is currently unbound, it is possible to exhibit all of its illuminated pages as individual leaves, a unique opportunity never to be repeated. See a special online feature for more information, including sponsorship credits. Take in films, gallery talks, and a subscription lecture related to the exhibition. Rent the accompanying Audio Guide and tour the show with experts leading the way.

The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy
Through May 23
The renovation of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon has provided an opportunity for the unprecedented loan of the alabaster mourner figures from the tomb of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife, Margaret of Bavaria. Each of the statuettes is approximately 16 inches high. For more information, including sponsorship credits, see the online preview. Enjoy films, gallery talks, and family programs held in conjunction with the exhibition.

These two special exhibitions share an intriguing connection: Jean de France, duc de Berry, was the uncle of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy.

The Cloisters Museum and Gardens
A visit to The Cloisters, the Museum’s branch in northern Manhattan, is certain to be a delight for anyone interested in the art and architecture of medieval Europe. In addition to free programs such as gallery talks and family workshops, The Cloisters will be hosting the following two subscription concerts this month:

The Boston Camerata: The Maria Monologues
Sunday, March 7, at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. ($40)
Internationally acclaimed singer Anne Azéma of the Boston Camerata is joined by Lydia Brotherton and Deborah Rentz-Moore in this exploration of the "eternal female" in the Christian Middle Ages.

Hesperus: The Book of Beasts
Sunday, March 14, at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. ($35)
This program, designed for the whole family, celebrates the animal world in music, mime, and prose. The performance group Hesperus explores a musical zoo of creatures from the cat to the unicorn.

Image: Herman, Paul, and Jean Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France, by 1399–1416). The Belles Heures of Jean of France, Duc of Berry, 1405–1408/9. French; Made in Paris. The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1). Folio 63r, The Flight into Egypt.

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Now at the Met

Discover what’s happening at the Museum and take a look behind the scenes with the newly redesigned Now at the Met. This online publication provides you with a deeper understanding of the Metropolitan—our collections, exhibitions, programs, and research.

 

Sundays at the Met

Spend an enlightening Sunday afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum.

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage
March 7, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Visiting lecturers will explore the fascinating world in which aristocratic Victorian women experimented with photocollage in the 1860s and 1870s. For more information about women artists, see our above section on Women’s History Month.

Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting and Sculpture
March 21, beginning at 3:00 p.m.
Learn about the captivating art of medieval Indian books, devotional icons, and the role of the Jain religious community, from the development of early sculptures to illustrated manuscripts in the 10th century to magnificent deluxe editions created four centuries later.

The Drawings of Bronzino
March 28, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Scholars from throughout the United States will discuss the work and life of leading Italian Mannerist artist Agnolo Bronzino. This Sunday at the Met is made possible in part by the Italian Cultural Institute of New York.

Image: Elizabeth Pleydell-Bouverie (English, d. 1889) and Jane Pleydell-Bouverie (English, d. 1903) or Ellen Pleydell-Bouverie (English, 1849–?) and Janet Pleydell-Bouverie (English, 1850–1906). Untitled page from the Bouverie Album, 1872/77. Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film.

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