Philippe de Montebello

I paid homage to Philippe de Montebello today.  I went to see the collection that had been acquired at the Met over the past 3 decades that Montebello oversaw the museum.  It was well worth the journey.

Most exhibits are curated with one idea in mind so rarely do you get an opportunity to see a Jasper Johns next to a hand carved cameo from the 1700's next to a guitar next to a cabinet from the 1800's next to a Picasso.  Jewelery and guns too.  The breadth of pieces accumulated gives an amateur (such as myself) some insight into how much is covered and collected at the Met.  Impressive is an understatement. 

Each piece has an informative history in regards to why the Met added it to their collection and who is attached to the donation or the purchase next to it. 

So many fantastic pieces from art to sculpture.  I kept wondering when I will ever have the opportunity to see many of these pieces again.  Some could easily end up in the basement for decades until someone comes along looking to curate the times of early French history dedicated to furniture.  Beyond cool.

There were a few highlights for me.  There was a piece of Armor that was made for a 5 year old.  Think 1712.  The details are magnificent.  Tiny gold pieces surrounding the armor which all appears to be coats of arms.  Very powerful.  I imagined a young kid running around in this.  A cabinet that had been crafted in the late 1800's inlaid with silver sculptures that made my jaw drop.  An elegant evening gown from Madame Gris that had been donated by Mrs. Oscar de la Renta.  White jersey so elegantly draped and made in 1965 yet you could literally put it on today.  Not only is the dress timeless it is eternally quintessentially modern.  A Jasper Johns from the flag series which is monochromatic and one of the first.  Photography too.  Richard Avedon's classic picture of Marilyn Monroe and even a photo from the African photographer Seydou Keita.  On a side note, I saw a Keita about 5 years ago that I wanted of a large man in a white tribal gown with a little boy on his knee.  Not expensive. I loved it.  Fred couldn't commit.  Alas, woulda coulda.  Now the Met even has his work. 

I found the exhibit really moving.  I might even consider going back.  Actually, I have to go back.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    Yesterday seemed like a perfect museum day here in Boston also. I dragged my husband to the Art Nouveau Jewelry Exhibit at MFA . It will be shown here for one more week and I think it will be traveling to Ohio. A new position was funded for a jewelry curator. Yvonne Markowitz was chosen. She has worked in other depts. at the MFA but this seems to be her true love. The pieces were so beautiful that I was fogging up the glass, because I couldn’t get close enough to them. To be honest I just wanted to pop off the glass and put each piece on. If you come to Boston before the 9th for a college visit, you must attend. Of course Fred would be bored. to tears. There are still many nice examples of art nouveau jewelry that are for sale here in the U.S. and Europe. New York seems to have te best choices.The second best part is that there is a garage where you can park and lock your car.As for the Seydon Keita, I hear a bit of lost opportunity in your voice? Don’t regret it. There will be another artist and so many more opportunities to buy other stuff.We have all done that so many times that I take for granted that either I feel wow I should have bought that, or what was I thinking when I get a piece home. A few times I am even thrilled with my purchases. Wait a day and youu will fall in love with something else. I always do.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I can fall in love daily with something. There are a few things I do regretnot buying over the years as does Fred. So now, when I really feel it, Ijust do it.

  2. Jewellery Talk

    There was a piece of Armor that was made for a 5 year old. Think 1712. The details are magnificent. Tiny gold pieces surrounding the armor which all appears to be coats of arms. Very powerful. I imagined a young kid running around in this.