Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York
February 9–July 4, 2011
New York City and nearby New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County have been home to a vibrant Italian American population since the late nineteenth century. Within this community, a remarkable tradition of lutherie (stringed-instrument making) has flourished. Italian American craftsmen have produced an enormous variety of musical instruments, from traditional European-style violins, mandolins, and guitars to newer American instruments such as archtop guitars and mandolins and even electric guitars. Since the 1930s, makers from this tradition in the New York region have become especially well known for their extraordinary archtop guitars. This exhibition examines the work of three remarkable craftsmen from this heritage—John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, and John Monteleone—their place in the extended context of Italian and Italian American instrument making, and the inspiration of the sights and sounds of New York City.
The Museum's collection of musical instruments includes approximately five thousand examples from six continents and the Pacific Islands, dating from about 300 B.C. Learn more about the Department of Musical Instruments.