New York City Travel
Musical Instruments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Collections and Galleries.    

Musical Instruments and French Furniture.

Gallery 21 contains paintings by Sargent, Homer, Chase, Ranger and other Americans, including six by Whistler (1834-1903). The most interesting, and one of the most important works by this artist, is the portrait of the French writer and critic, Theodore Duret (ill. no. 27), who is shown full length, standing, in evening dress with a pink domino thrown over his arm as though about to enter a ball room.

Whistler painted this portrait of his friend to prove that it was possible to make an interesting picture of a man in the characteristic costume of today, the pink domino serving as a color note and also to break the stiff lines. Whistler's butterfly signature appears at the right.

At this point the northwest stairway leads directly to the restaurant. If the three hour "pilgrimage" is being followed go down this stairway and on the main floor turn to the right where will be found the musical instruments.'

This remarkable collection consists of about 4,000 keyboards and instruments of all nations and includes the earliest known piano, that made by Cristofori in 1720.

Passing thence through several galleries of casts° we come to the entrance of wing F, which is devoted to the decorative arts.10 Here, in a series of 25 galleries, is installed the collection of George Hoentschel of Paris, which was purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan and presented to the Museum and to which numerous other objects have been added.

Gothic and Renaissance furniture, sculpture,'1 woodwork and tapestries are installed in the main hall (ill. no. 29) and in the series of westerly rooms on the ground floor. The XVIIIth century decorative arts, mainly French, are in the east series of rooms on both floors while the English and American objects are on the west side of the second floor.

The central hall has tapestries hung on the walls, majolica and other small objects in the cases, and large pieces of sculpture are attractively displayed. At the far end, beneath a marble canopy, is a notable group of the "Nativity" (ill. no. 30) by the Italian sculptor Rossellino (1427-1478).

Going into F 4 at the left we find Gothic stained glass and carved chests, while in the adjoining corner, F 3, are two marble groups from the Chateau de Biron, French work of the early XVIth century. The group of "The Entombment" ranks as one of the noblest renderings of the subject, consisting as it does of eight figures, nearly life size, attended by a choir of five angels, the whole set in a richly ornamented frame.

Going out into the main hall we find at the left a small room whose carved wood paneling of the early XVIIth century came from Switzerland, and here the tiled stove and all the furniture are of about the same period. Returning through the series of ground floor rooms at the left we pass through two with French furniture and one composite and find our-selves back at the entrance among the casts.


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