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29 East 36th Street
New York, New York
Telephone: (212) 685-0610 TTY:
The Morgan Library is a public museum as well as a center for scholarly research; it originated as the private library of the legendary American financier and collector Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913).
In 1924, Pierpont Morgan's son, J. P. Morgan, Jr., transformed the Library into a public institution. The Library's collections have continued to grow within the fields established by Pierpont Morgan and have as their principal focus the history, art, and literature of Western civilization from the Middle Ages to the present. In recent years the holdings have been enhanced by the formation of an important collection of music manuscripts.
The Library presents an ongoing program of exhibitions drawn from its own collections and other museums and libraries around the world, while also simultaneously continuing to serve the scholarly community.
Education and Public Programs
In conjunction with The Great Experiment, the Library is offering free educational programs for high school students.
Through the use of primary documents, students will analyze, discuss, and interpret this defining moment in American history with the help of museum educators. Curriculum materials include a teacher's guide designed for classroom use and in preparation of a visit to the exhibition and containing extensive background information and lesson plans. The exhibition catalogue, CD-ROM, and a fifteen-minute video are available to participating teachers and selected schools in the metropolitan New York area. For information or to schedule a visit, please contact Public Programs and Education at (212) 685-0008, ext. 393. For other group tour information, please call (212) 685-0008, ext. 390.
The Library is presenting a variety of public programs, including a four-part lecture series in which noted scholars examine the life and influence of the nation's first president.
All lectures begin at 6:30 p.m. The series Defining America, which features four films that explore unique aspects of life in the republic, begins with John Ford's Searchers (1956) on Friday, November 19, at 6:30 p.m. Ragtime (directed by Milos Forman, 1981) is shown on Saturday, November 20, at noon, and The Best Years of Our Lives (directed by William Wyler, 1946) at 3 p.m. On Sunday, November 21, at 3 p.m., Defining America concludes with Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather (1972). The film programs are included with the regular requested contribution. Tickets are available on the day of the film one hour before starting time. Reservations for members only at (212) 685-0008, ext. 347.
General information: Call (212) 685-0610 for more information or visit our Web site at www. morganlibrary. org.
Collection of medieval and Renaissance artworks and manuscripts. The Pierpont Morgan Library is a privately endowed museum, independent research library, and historic site. It was founded in 1906 as the private library of legendary financier and collector J. Pierpont Morgan. It was Morgan's ambition to establish in this country a library of artistic, literary, and historical materials that would rival the great libraries of Europe. In a span of less than twenty years, he amassed such a vast collection that he commissioned the distinguished American architect Charles F. McKim to design a building to house it.
The library consists of three historic buildings and a garden court, which contains a cafe. The original building, built in 1906 to house Pierpont Morgan's ever growing collection, is a renaissance style palazzo designed by the American architect Charles F. McKim and is one of New York City's most notable landmarks.
The collection is made up of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, rare printed books, fine bindings, autograph manuscripts, master prints and drawings, original music manuscripts, ancient near eastern cylinder seals, and art objects.
The extraordinary group of illuminated manuscripts, printed books, bindings, autograph manuscripts, old master drawings, and ancient Near Eastern seals that J. Pierpont Morgan brought together were among the first important collections of their kind in America, and form what is today the core of the Library's holdings. The Library continues to acquire in the fields established by Morgan and its collections are among the finest in the world. They now number nearly 200,000 objects and are distinguished by the high percentage of times that are unique or exceptionally rare. The emphasis of the collections are on the written work, the history of the book, and drawings.
The Library's exhibitions and programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.
On view this winter is the second installment of Collecting for the Centuries, which commemorates one hundred years of collecting. This series of exhibitions features some of the finest masterpieces from each of the Library's various collections, which began with the holdings assembled by the Library's founder, Pierpont Morgan, in the 1890s. The collections have increased substantially since that time.
Reflecting the breadth and depth of the Library's holdings are selections from its collections of ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets, drawings and prints, illuminated, historical, literary, and musical manuscripts and books, and printed books and bindings.
The largest and most sumptuous music manuscripts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance were the choir books used in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Since choristers at the time sang from a single choir book on a lectern, it was necessary to make the text and music large enough for all to see. Thus, the choir book was the largest of medieval manuscripts. Because so little music and text occupied each page, nearly a dozen volumes could be required for the entire church year. Opening letters, elaborate historiated initials, were often the size of small panel paintings and were equally as impressive. The two most widely used types of choir books were the Antiphony and the Gradual.
Complete sets of choir books are rare, as the beauty and size of their illuminations led to dismemberment. Consequently only about one third of the two dozen items displayed are manuscripts; the rest are single leaves and cuttings. The largest and heaviest (eighty-five pounds) manuscript is the first volume of the Geese Book, so named after a border illustration depicting a wolf conducting a choir of geese. The most lavish choir books are represented by leaves and cuttings that once formed part of a two-volume Gradual illuminated in the 1390s at the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. Curator in charge: William Voelkle, Curator and Department Head of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
The French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) wrote The Little Prince, one of the world's most beloved books, in a rented house near Northport, Long Island, during the summer and autumn of 1942. In 1943, before returning to service in World War II as a reconnaissance pilot, he gave the manuscript and drawings to a friend, Silvia Hamilton Reinhardt. Comprising the most complete record of the creation of The Little Prince and including several drawings that were omitted when the book was published in 1943, the materials were acquired by the Library in 1968. Saint-Exupéry's final versions of the published illustrations are lost.
To celebrate the centenary of Saint-Exupéry's birth, some twenty of the author's original preparatory drawings for The Little Prince as well as selected pages from his extensively revised handwritten manuscript will be exhibited. Informal portraits of the writer, sketched by the French muralist Jean Pagès (1903-1976) just weeks before Saint-Exupéry disappeared on a reconnaissance mission, and editions of several of the author's other works are also on view.
Elaborate jewelry made of semiprecious stones and precious metals, gold and silver personal items, cups and bowls, and other related artifacts are among the objects on view in Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. One of the great technical achievements of Middle Eastern archaeology, the 1920s excavations of the Royal Cemetery of Ur represent one of the most spectacular discoveries relating to ancient Mesopotamia. Excavated by the renowned British archaeologist, Sir Leonard Woolley, the Royal Cemetery of Ur contained some 1,800 burials. Deep within the site lay the tombs of the mid-third millennium B.C. kings and queens of the city of Ur, noted in the Bible as the home of the patriarch Abraham. The tombs date from the early Dynastic IIIA period (2600-2500 B.C.), a high point in the history of Sumerian culture.
Organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and drawn from its holdings, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur includes the unique artifacts found in the intact tomb of a royal woman named Puabi. Among these highlights are her jewelry as well as an elaborate shoulder-to-waist cloak fashioned from strands of beads made from precious metals and semiprecious stones. The exhibition also includes important artifacts from other tombs, such as a large wooden lyre with a gold and lapis lazuli bull's head; a silver-covered, boat-shaped lyre with a statuette of a rampant stag; and the world-renowned Ram in the Thicket, a statuette made of lapis lazuli, gold, and shell of a goat standing and nibbling the leaves of a tree or bush.
The Morgan Library's holdings include an extensive collection of Near Eastern cylinder seals. A small selection of seals dating to the period and geographical area highlighted in Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur will be on view concurrently, as part of Collecting for the Centuries.
Sponsors: Made possible by Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen and Mrs. Roswell Gilpatric. Generous support provided by The Judy and Michael Steinhardt Foundation, Dr. Vallo and Julia Benjamin, and the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation. Additional assistance from Laurie and David Ying, Diana and Frederick Elghanayan and the Rodney L. White Foundation. Hank Walter contributed special media support.
Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur was organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Curator in charge at the Morgan Library is Sidney Babcock, Associate Curator of Seals and Tablets. The exhibition was organized by Richard Zettler, Associate Curator-in-Charge and Holly Pittman, Associate Curator, both of the Near Eastern Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and Donald Hansen, the Stephen Chan Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
The year 2000 marks the centenary of the death of one of the most influential figures of the Victorian age, John Ruskin (1819-1900). The Morgan Library, which houses one of the world's most comprehensive Ruskin collections, will commemorate the occasion with an exhibition of drawings, watercolors, manuscripts, and books drawn primarily from its holdings of materials by Ruskin and his contemporaries. During the year, major exhibitions are also being mounted at the Tate Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and other institutions in England and the United States.
As artist, art critic, teacher, and social commentator, Ruskin produced an enormous and varied body of work. His ideas about art, architecture, and society, expressed with remarkable passion and eloquence, are enduring legacies. Among highlights of the exhibition are Ruskin's original manuscripts of his two most important works, The Stones of Venice (1851-53) and Modern Painters (1843-60), his commissioned photographs and own drawings for Stones, his Self-portrait with Blue Neckcloth (1873), John Everett Millais's portrait of him (1854), J. M. W. Turner's watercolor The Pass at Faido, St. Gotthard (Thaw Collection; 1843), and works of other artists whom he championed. Manuscripts and printed editions of The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1848), Praeterita (1885-89), The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (1884), and other works are also included. Selections from the Library's comprehensive collection of Ruskin correspondence and artifacts will touch upon important biographical details, including his religious upbringing, his mentoring of the illustrator Kate Greenaway and other artists, his unconsummated marriage to Euphemia ("Effie") Chalmers Gray, which ended, after six years, when she left him for John Everett Millais, and his recurrent emotional breakdowns. Curator in charge: Robert Parks, Robert H. Taylor Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts.
Open until 8:00 pm
Why not get your weekend off to a great start? Stop by the Library for a leisurely stroll through the current exhibitions or enjoy some music and a glass of wine in the Garden Court.
For further information, call Public Programs at (212) 685-0008, ext. 347.
Telephone: (212) 685-0610
Friends of the Morgan Library are entitled to special benefits and privileges that provide many satisfying ways to participate in numerous activities and events. Members at the Associate and Sponsor levels are invited to the popular behind-the-scenes program led by the curatorial staff. Memberships begin at $60 for Individuals and include Dual/Family ($85), Contributing ($150), Sustaining ($350), Sponsor ($500), Associate ($1,000), and Donor ($2,500). The Library is pleased to announce new National ($40) and International ($50) categories for those who reside beyond a 150-mile radius of New York City. Library shop discounts, free admission, and advance notice of and discounted ticket prices for concerts, lectures, and special events are just some of the benefits Friends enjoy. For more information, please call the Membership Office at (212) 685-0008, ext. 361.
Exhibition tours are offered daily. All groups of ten or more must book tours in advance. For more information, please contact the Public Programs and Education Department at (212) 685-0008, ext. 390.
Tuesday - thursday: 10:30 am
to 5:00 pm
Friday: 10:30 am to 8:00 pm
Saturday: 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm tp 6:00 pm
Mondays and holidays: closed
Charles E. Pierce, Jr., Director
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