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Blogs/ Collection Insights/ Masterworks Across Time and Place: Native American Art and a Delacroix Drawing on MetCollects

Masterworks Across Time and Place: Native American Art and a Delacroix Drawing on MetCollects

MetCollects is a monthly online feature that highlights works of art new to the Museum's collection through the fresh eyes of photographers and the enthusiastic voices of leading scholars and artists. This fall, the September and October episodes coincided with three exhibitions at The Met Fifth Avenue.

Detail of Delacroix's painting Jacob Wrestling with an Angel

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863). Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (detail), 1850. Oil over pen and ink on tracing paper; mounted on canvas and backed with linen, sheet: 22 3/8 x 16 in. (56.8 x 40.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift from the Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix, in honor of Philippe de Montebello, 2016 (2016.759)

In honor of two shows of work by Eugène Delacroix—Devotion to Drawing: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix (now closed) and Delacroix (on view through January 6)—the September episode of MetCollects features a close-up look at the French Romantic artist's drawing Jacob Wrestling with the Angel.

Through a range of details, the episode's photo essay by Erica Allen illuminates exuberant brushstrokes and vignettes in the painting and reveals a cluster of figures in the lower right that are hard to see with the naked eye. The photographs also enable us to examine lines of ink under the oil painting. In her essay, Ashley Dunn—assistant curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints—says that Delacroix's technique of using pen and ink with oil paint "expresses the energetic fervor of an early draft and bridges the distinction between drawing and painting."

Detail of native-tanned leather and pigment fringe on the back side of a Naskapi Innu man's coat

Naskapi Innu artist. Man's coat. Possibly made in Quebec or Labrador, Canada, ca. 1840. Native-tanned leather and pigment, 41 1/2 x 69 1/4 in. (105.4 x 175.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of Native American Art, Gift of Valerie-Charles Diker Fund, 2017 (2017.718.9)

The October episode celebrates the landmark exhibition Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection (on view through October 6, 2019) by highlighting six remarkable artworks from the Diker Collection that are now on view in the Museum's American Wing. Among the objects included in the photo essay by Bruce Schwarz are a Woodlands coat, a Yup'ik mask, and a monumental rendering of The Battle of the Little Bighorn by the Lakota artist Standing Bear. In her essay, Sylvia Yount—Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of The American Wing—says that the gift represents "the extensive artistic achievements of culturally distinct Indigenous peoples throughout North America and across time, from the second to the twentieth century."

Native American scholar Ned Blackhawk discusses the Diker Collection in the Museum's American Wing

This episode also features an interview with Ned Blackhawk, professor of history and American studies at Yale University, who gives a unique perspective on the collection. He calls the installation of Native work in the American Wing "a radical reorientation of The Met's commitment to seeing past a limiting vision of what it means to call something American art."

MetCollects is made possible through the continued generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Delacroix Related Content

Delacroix is on view at The Met Fifth Avenue through January 6, 2019.

View a selection of works presented in the exhibition and take a walkthrough of the galleries.

The exhibition catalogue, by Sébastien Allard and Côme Fabre with contributions by Dominique de Font-Réaulx, Michèle Hannoosh, Mehdi Korchane, and Asher Miller, is available for purchase at The Met Store.

Art of Native America Related Content

Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection is on view at The Met Fifth Avenue through October 6, 2019.

The exhibition catalogue, by Gaylord Torrence with Ned Blackhawk and Sylvia Yount, is available on The Met Store.

Learn more about the exhibition by viewing the exhibition galleries and reading related resources.

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