Press release

The Luxury of Time: European Clocks and Watches

The Luxury of Time: European Clocks and Watches

November 16, 2015–March 27, 2016

Exhibition Location: Wrightsman Exhibition Gallery, First Floor, Gallery 521

The Luxury of Time: European Clocks and Watches, opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on November 16, will draw upon the Museum’s extensive holdings of French, English, Dutch, German, and Swiss horological instruments from the 16th through the 19th centuries and will examine their decorative qualities. At the time they were made, these clocks and watches were acquired primarily as decorative objects or specialized pieces of furniture, but several of them are equally important from a technical standpoint, illustrating important developments in European clock making. The exhibition will include objects that have not been on display for almost a decade, as well as objects that are highlights from the Museum’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and often on view in its galleries. These more familiar objects include Berthoud’s ebony and gilt-bronze Longcase astronomical regulator clock and the opulent Lepaute gilt-bronze mantel clock. A recently acquired work—an automaton clock made in Nuremberg in the early 17th century depicting Urania, muse of astronomy—will be a highlight of the installation.

The Luxury of Time will coincide with the publication of a forthcoming highlights book on European clocks and watches in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection. Written by Clare Vincent and Jan Hendrik Leopold, with contributions from Elizabeth Sullivan, it will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is available in the Museum’s book shops.

The publication is made possible by Jan and Marica Vilcek.

The Luxury of Time exhibition is organized by Elizabeth Sullivan, Associate Research Curator and Clare Vincent, Associate Curator, both of the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.

The exhibition will be featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via the hashtag #LuxuryofTime


November 2, 2015

Image: Clockmaker: Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807); Case maker: Balthazar Lieutaud (ca. 1720-1780, master 1749). Longcase astronomical regulator, ca. 1768-70. Case: ebony veneered on oak, with gilt-bronze mounts; Dial: white enamel, H: 90.5 in. (229.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 

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