Philippe de Montebello

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The Asian Art Galleries and Douglas Dillon - The Philippe de Montebello Years - A Scholars' Day Workshop

Program information

The acquisition of works of art is central to the Metropolitan Museum's mission, and was a hallmark of Philippe de Montebello's tenure as director. In conjunction with the exhibition The Philippe de Montebello Years, this series of lectures and panel discussions celebrates the impressive additions to the Museum collections made under Mr. de Montebello's esteemed directorship.

Curator Maxwell Hearn talks about the building of one of the world's most comprehensive collections of Asian art. During the tenure of Philippe de Montebello, the Asian Art collection grew from two galleries, in 1971, to fifty galleries today, a revolutionary transformation achieved largely by the dedication of Douglas Dillon and curator Wen Fong. Hearn considers three transformative masterpieces of Chinese painting in the Met's collection: Han Gan's Night-Shining White, Guo Xi's Old Trees, Level Distance, and Mi Fu's poem Sailing on the Wu River.

Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator in the Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Center for the History of Collecting in America at The Frick Collection

Learn more about the exhibition The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions:

Learn more about Asian Art collections at the Met:

The Philippe de Montebello Years

Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions

October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009

Accompanied by a publication

In honor of Philippe de Montebello—soon to retire after thirty-one years as the Metropolitan Museum's eighth and longest-serving director—this exhibition proposed and conceived by the curators brings together, for the first time, well over 250 masterpieces acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art during the director's tenure. All of the Museum's curatorial departments are represented by works ranging across the centuries from ancient prehistory to today and across the globe from Europe to Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Acquired by purchase and donation, singularly and in groups, these works demonstrate how the de Montebello years have dramatically enhanced the Museum's encyclopedic collections and encouraged public access to the greatness of the world's artistic traditions.