Part of a collection formed over the past five decades by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, the 124 paintings, drawings, and pastels in this catalogue range in date from the early sixteenth to the late nineteenth century; some remain in Mrs. Wrightsman's personal collection, while others have been given to or purchased for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the most notable of these works are masterpieces by Lorenzo Lotto, Guercino, El Greco, Rubens, Georges de la Tour, Van Dyck, Vermeer, Jacques-Louis David, and Caspar David Friedrich, as well as numerous paintings by the eighteenth-century Venetian artists Canaletto, Guardi, and the Tiepolos, father and son, plus a dozen remarkable portrait drawings by Ingres, the largest holding of the artist's drawings currently in private hands. Well-known artists are joined by those who are brought to fresh awareness through the commentary that accompanies each work.
About half of the pictures in the catalogue were acquired after the Wrightsman collection was first published in 1973. As a testament to the continuing passion and discernment of Mrs. Wrightsman, this volume celebrates the generosity of a great benefactor.