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Press release


(New York, November 9, 2004)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art today announced that it will officially name its Asian art galleries the Florence and Herbert Irving Asian Wing in recognition of the couple's exceptionally generous new promised gift to the Museum—which, together with their previous support, constitutes one of the largest gifts ever made to advance the field of Asian art in any American museum.

"Once again, our beloved Trustee, Florence Irving, and her most generous husband Herbert Irving, have exceeded our expectations with their dedication and munificence to Asian art and to the Metropolitan," stated Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Museum. "It is indeed both a privilege and a pleasure to re-designate these galleries in their name. They will serve as a perpetual reminder to visitors, scholars, and our own staff, of the extraordinary impact the Irvings have had on this Museum. And they will guarantee the pursuit of excellence and innovation in the fields of art that they have devoted their lives to advancing."

Noted James R. Houghton, Chairman of the Metropolitan: "I know I speak for all of the Trustees in thanking and applauding Florence and Herb Irving for making one of the great gifts in the history of the Museum. Their boundless generosity has helped the Met remain and grow as one of the great Asian art museums of the world, and their latest demonstration of dedication to the field will help to maintain galleries and scholarship for generations to come."

The designation was formally announced today at the November meeting of the Board of Trustees. The re-naming becomes effective immediately.

The Irvings' promised gift will endow a curatorial position in the field of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, which will be created in their name; fund an endowment for the care of the Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries for South and Southeast Asian Art; create an additional endowment for exhibitions in these galleries and those for Chinese decorative arts; and help fund Museum acquisitions.

The Florence and Herbert Irving Asian Wing, on the north side of the Museum's second floor, will include galleries for Chinese art, the arts of Korea, and South and Southeast Asian art. The galleries will extend to the third floor, where the Metropolitan displays Chinese decorative arts and the arts of later India and the Himalayan kingdoms. The wing does not include the galleries for Japanese art, which are in The Sackler Wing.

Florence and Herbert Irving's previous gifts to the Met also include funding for a new reading room in the Thomas J. Watson Library, as well as the donations of many works of art currently on display at the Museum.

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