The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has unveiled new galleries this week dedicated to the history of American painting, sculpture and design, some of which museum officials said displayed the country’s “crown jewels.” The new galleries are part of a $100 million renovation of the museum.
“Today we celebrate 10 years since the beginning of the project to reimagine, reinvent and rebuild the American Wing,” Morrison Heckscher, chairman on the American Wing, told the news media Thursday.
Renovation of the galleries for American art from the 18th century to early 20th century began after Heckscher and his team concluded the previous galleries “were not doing justice to the collection display.”
The 26 classically styled renovated rooms occupy about 2,800 square meters, representing a “total reconfiguration of the space” and creating “modern galleries with a very historic feel,” Heckscher said.
A centerpiece of the American Wing is the immense oil painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze, which depicts the peak of the American War of Independence.
Leutze, a German American, painted the picture in Germany in 1851. It shows the revolutionary hero and first U.S. president with his troops in a wooden boat crossing the ice-laden river that separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey on Christmas 1776.
The galleries are arranged to provide a tour of American art trends, from colonial period portraits (1730-1776) by artists such as John Singleton Copley to American Impressionism (1880-1920).