Metropolitan Museum of Art to reopen American Wing after $100 million remodel

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is famous for its impressive collection of American art, including iconic images such as Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. Now that collection has a larger, better designed home thanks to a $100 million renovation.

The New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts open Jan. 16 and total 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, which is 3,300 more than previously. It houses American art from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and provides better lighting and access than the previous galleries.

Besides Leutze’s work, which has been given a new gilded frame, the collection is a who’s who of American art, including painters such a John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Remington. Cole’s painting View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm-The Oxbow is also on display and is shown below. There’s also a large folk art collection, historic furniture, and work by important silversmiths such as Paul Revere.

Paintings by Emanuel Leutze and Thomas Cole courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Museum Junkie: Met reopens its American wing

The American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reopened yesterday after two years of construction and renovation. The museum’s excellent collection of American painting, sculpture, and minor arts has taken on new life with a major remodel that includes a reconfigured main courtyard containing thirty pieces of important sculpture. A video of the stunning, light-filled courtyard can be seen here.

The new interior uses generous amounts of glass as well as an airy, open interior to create a beautiful space within which to admire American art. People have often bypassed this section to make a beeline to the more famous medieval and Egyptian galleries, but the American wing has an amazing collection of works that can hold their own with any period of art.

In this museum junkie’s opinion, the most interesting part of this wing has always been the period rooms, two of which are pictured in the gallery below. These are twenty original interiors from all periods of American history, ranging from 1680 to 1914, that really bring you into the feel of the time. New digital interpretation panels help you see beyond the pretty furniture and architecture to understand how these places were actually lived in. It’s all part of the museum’s commitment to make a more visitor-friendly experience and bring American art more into the public’s attention.