Last Friday night, I headed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a fun #metwalk tour of the Met organized by the Met’s Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, who was joined by the Met’s Exhibition Designer Daniel Kershaw, the Met’s Media Lab Manager Marco Antonio Castro Cosio and Christopher P. Gorman, Assistant for Administration, Audience Development, MMA.
A group gathered at The Temple of Dendur to learn more about the amazing new “Color the Temple” project, from the Met’s Media Lab Manager Marco Antonio Castro Cosio.
“Color the Temple: Scene 1” shows, through digital projection mapping, how the original colors of the Temple of Dendur would have looked. It’s 1st-Century art meets 21st-Century tech, and a wonderful collaboration between The Met’s Egyptologists the Met’s Media Lab.
Through April, you can check it out for yourself from Friday at 5 pm through Sunday at 5 pm (the Met closes at 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays; 5:30 rest of the week). Check out the video below, narrated by Garth Kravits.
The next stop was the American Wing, where Daniel Kershaw, the Met’s Exhibition Design Manager talked about Frank Lloyd Wright’s living room from the Little House, Wayzata, Minnesota.
Kershaw also shared how he and the rest of the Met’s staff organized the new Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age exhibition, located on the first floor of the American Wing in galleries 742, 743, 746.
Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age features the luxurious and artistic interiors found in New York’s wealthiest households in the late 19th century. The exhibition includes more than three dozen examples of furniture from America’s Gilded Age.
The centerpiece of the three-part exhibition is the opulent Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room from the New York City house at 4 West 54th Street, commissioned by art collector and philanthropist Arabella Worsham, mistress and later, wife. The room comes from the 4 West 54th Street home of Arabella Worsham, mistress (and later, wife) of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington. She commissioned Schastey to decorate the house in 1881. A complete work of art, with its elaborate woodwork and decorations, it is a rare surviving commission by the New York-based cabinetmaker and interior decorator George A. Schastey (1839–1894), who is the subject of the second part of the exhibition.
The Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room is a jewel-box of a room and a quintessential expression of the Aesthetic movement, which was in vogue during the late 1870s and early 1880s. The movement stressed the artistic and embraced an amalgamation of different styles, as seen here in the flat, stylized, natural ornamentation in combination with carved flourishes in the Renaissance style.
The private room, intended solely for Worsham’s use, is a totally cohesive artistic interior with intricate woodwork, a built-in wardrobe, two full-length dressing mirrors, and a vanity en suite with a delicate dressing table, dressing glass, and chairs. Careful study of the ornate marquetry ornamentation—executed in satinwood and purpleheart with mother-of-pearl inlays—reveals a multitude of seashell and pearl motifs that reference Worsham’s great love of pearl jewelry, while depictions of hand mirrors, scissors, hair combs, brooches, necklaces, and earrings suggest the dressing room’s intended purpose. The room exemplifies the work of Schastey’s interior decorating firm and his close relationship with his patrons.
In 1884, Worsham sold the house, complete with furnishings, to John D. Rockefeller, who made few changes to it. Gifted to The Museum of the City of New York after Rockefeller’s death in 1937, the room has found new life at the Metropolitan Museum, where it was recently conserved and firmly identified as the work of Schastey, and takes its place within a suite of American interiors arranged in historical sequence.
A highlight of the work of Schastey’s firm demonstrating the quality and range of his production is a magnificent art case piano, on view in The Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery, Gallery 746. Steinway & Sons documents identify Schastey as the instrument’s designer and Newark, New Jersey thread manufacturer William Clark as its original owner. The exhibition also features furniture from several other rooms of the Worsham-Rockefeller house, notably the Moorish reception room (now at the Brooklyn Museum) and a bedroom (now at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond), all by Schastey.
The adjoining gallery displays works by Schastey’s best-known competitor, Herter Brothers, which were created for the firm’s most important commission, the William H. Vanderbilt House (on Fifth Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets), and are on view in the Deedee Wigmore Galleries, Gallery 743, through January 31, 2017.
The refreshed installation devoted to Herter Brothers’ most important commission—for the William H. Vanderbilt House (on Fifth Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets) complements the debut of the Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room and the exhibition on George A. Schastey. Completed in 1882, their designs for the Vanderbilt house resulted in the most opulent interior of the period.
Among the new discoveries being shown for the first time are a pair of rosewood side chairs for Vanderbilt’s library; a pair of gilded and mother-of-pearl armchairs and gilded console table from the drawing room, one of New York’s most sumptuous rooms of the day; and a cabinet for the Japanese room of the Vanderbilt House. The Metropolitan now owns the largest holdings of Herter Brothers work for the Vanderbilt commission.
To provide a context for Schastey’s work, the exhibition also features works by some of the period’s competing cabinetmaking and decorating firms: Pottier and Stymus, Charles Tisch, Herts Brothers, and Herter Brothers. Click here for more information on the exhibition.
The Charles Engelhard Court
The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at The Women’s Film Festival 2016 in Philadelphia on March 13th and the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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