New York's Metropolitan Museum Expands Thanks to Pittsburgh Connection

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 26, 2008 | Go to article overview
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New York's Metropolitan Museum Expands Thanks to Pittsburgh Connection


Shaw, Kurt, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


This winter, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City reopened the newly renovated and expanded Galleries for 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture.

But it wouldn't have been entirely possible without a Pittsburgh connection: 8,000 square feet of the nearly 35,000 square feet of refurbished galleries were built thanks to the generosity of Drue Heinz, second wife of H.J. Heinz II (1908-87), and stepmother to the late Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz (1938-91).

A longtime Metropolitan museum trustee, Drue Heinz's ties to Pittsburgh are strong. Since 1981, she has sponsored the Drue Heinz Lecture series. Funds from her foundation, The Drue Heinz Trust, help generate exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art's Heinz Architectural Center.

And now, the Henry J. Heinz II Galleries will showcase European paintings from the Metropolitan's world-renowned collection. This new presentation will feature a more thorough display of the museum's 19th-century collection, augmented with seminal works from the early modern era.

In a statement from her office, Drue Heinz said that naming the Metropolitan gallery after her husband, who, like Paul Mellon, was a Yale man with a widely known name, would bring some recognition to Pennsylvania, as well as serve to remember his interest in the arts.

"This grand new space simply would not have been possible without the generous support of our valued friend Drue Heinz," says Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan, who declined to disclose the amount of the gifts in accordance to the museum's policy.

The new addition features four intimately scaled rooms for the display of small plein-air paintings, including important promised gifts from Wheelock Whitney III by artists such as Simon Denis, Camille Corot, Achille Michallon and Charles Remond; and recent gifts from Eugene V. Thaw by artists such as Carl Rottmann, Carl Christian Constantin Hansen and Carl Gustav Carus.

For the first time in any American museum, the complete history of 19th-century European outdoor landscape painting is displayed in the context of its permanent collection. Further, the gallery devoted to Caspar David Friedrich, his students and close associates is the first to appear in this country.

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