(New York, February 9, 2000)—Yale University Press will become the exclusive worldwide distributor of scholarly publications and exhibition catalogues published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, effective in May 2000. The Museum currently issues around 20 to 25 such publications per year, and in the new arrangement, Yale University Press will also be responsible for the distribution of nearly 150 of the Museum's previously published titles.
In announcing the distribution agreement, Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello noted: "As early as the 1870s, the Metropolitan published guides to the permanent collections and catalogues to accompany special exhibitions. This endeavor has grown and evolved over the years, and now the Met, as one of the world's preeminent publishers of art books, moves to broaden its visibility here and abroad. The new partnership with Yale — an acclaimed, long-time publisher of art and art history titles in its own right — looks to the future in bringing together two strong and highly complementary publishing programs."
The Museum's earliest publications, produced within a year of its founding in 1870, were written by members of its Board of Trustees. With the formation of an editorial department in 1911, the number of publications designed for visitors to the galleries increased, and by 1913 the Information Desk in the Great Hall carried 54 Museum titles. Books related to the collections — exploring thematic subjects — became an increasingly important part of the Museum's publishing program in the 1920s, and several scholarly or scientific works that were researched and authored by the Museum's professional staff were issued exclusively under the Metropolitan's imprint. At this time,
the Museum also began to publish authoritative books on paintings and the decorative arts in conjunction with publishing houses such as Charles Scribner's Sons, Yale University Press, Harvard University Press, and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in an effort to expand distribution and sales.
During the 1970s, as the collections and the curatorial staff grew, an editor in chief was appointed and the editorial staff enlarged. As a result, the number and variety of titles rose significantly. By the 1980s, the Metropolitan had become one of the largest museum art-book publishers in the United States, and by the 1990s, one of the largest in the world.
Exhibition catalogues published by the Metropolitan Museum and distributed by Abrams in recent years include: Velázquez (1989); Origins of Impressionism (1994); Possessing the Past: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei (1996); Christian Dior (1996); The Glory of Byzantium (1997); The Private Collection of Edgar Degas (1998); Cézanne to Van Gogh: The Collection of Dr. Gachet (1999); and Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids (1999).
Major books scheduled for publication in the fall of 2000, when the new arrangement with Yale University Press begins, include exhibition catalogues for New York, 1825-1861: Art and the Empire City; The Year One; and The Golden Deer of Eurasia, as well as American Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume 1: A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born Before 1865 and American Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume 2: A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born Between 1865 and 1885.
Founded in 1909, Yale University Press is one of the largest American university presses. It publishes over 220 new titles and 70 paperback reprints a year in a wide range of disciplines. Its art list, which includes exhibition catalogues, scholarly monographs, and classroom texts, including the highly acclaimed Yale Pelican History of Art, is considered one of the finest in the world. Many of these titles have won prizes for both their scholarship and their production values. Yale University Press has been the
exclusive distributor of books for the National Gallery of London since 1994 and has co-published with many museums in the U.S. and the UK. Of the new agreement, Tina C. Weiner, Yale's Publishing Director, said; "Yale University Press is delighted to become the Met's worldwide distributor in both the trade and academic markets. We feel the synergy between the two lists is ideal and will form the basis of an effective and mutually rewarding partnership."
For the past 15 years, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. has been the exclusive distributor of books published by the Metropolitan Museum, and of this arrangement Mr. de Montebello said: "We are grateful to Paul Gottlieb and his staff at Abrams for their superb, long-time work in making the Museum's collections and exhibitions better known, understood, and appreciated."
The Metropolitan will continue to offer its publications for sale in its bookstores, satellite shops, and mail-order program, as well as online. The Museum's newly expanded and redesigned Web site at www.metmuseum.org will carry its entire list of published titles. Metropolitan Museum publications are also available in bookstores and specialized art bookstores worldwide.
Other Museum titles and products are co-published with Princeton University Press, Bullfinch, and other publishers.
For information about Yale University Press, please contact Alison Pratt (phone: 203/432-0971; email: email@example.com) or visit the Web site at www.yale.edu/yup/.
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February 9, 2000