Monday, December 10, 2012

Field Trip: The Morgan Library, New York, NY

It's been awhile but I have some pictures to share with you of a field trip! This trip was to New York City where I met up with 2 girlfriends to kick off the holiday social season. We converged on The Morgan Library & Museum from 3 different directions - that's Carol arriving, above!

 Today, The Morgan Library & Museum is a complex of buildings of differing styles and periods covering half a city block and housing the collection of JP Morgan. The most influential financier in this country's history, Pierpont Morgan was also a voracious collector.

As early as 1890 Morgan had begun to assemble a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints. He bought on an astonishing scale in virtually every medium including art objects and ancient artifacts. Above is the original library room with it's floor to ceiling books and 3 tiers of catwalks in elegant cast iron. I LOVE this room!

Built between 1902 and 1906 "Mr. Morgan's library." was an intimate palazzo-like structure designed by Charles Follen McKim to the east of JP's New York residence at Madison Avenue and 36th Street. The gorgeous vaulted, painted and gilded ceiling of the rotunda - the library's original main entrance - is a captivating in contrast to all the heavy, dark appointments throughout the library.

As the collection grew so did the library. First an annex (1928) and then 60 years later, the mid-nineteenth-century residence were added to the complex. In 1991 a garden court was built to unite all three buildings in the complex. The Renzo Piano design integrates the three landmark buildings with three intimately scaled new pavilions constructed of steel-and-glass panels to create an accessible, inviting setting. The diversity of the architecture mirrors to me the charmingly disjointed character of the art and artifact collection on display. Where the books, manuscripts, letters and drawings naturally present a cohesive display, the "decorations" seem more personal, more collected and less curated.

The Morgan Library also has a wonderful cafe in the garden court with seasonal menus and a lovely gift shop. For more information on one of New York's lesser known gems, visit The Morgan Library's website.

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