I Love Old Things

Brad Miner | September 28, 2021

One of the places I visit most in New York City is The MET. The MET (nickname of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) has its main facility on 5th Avenue and contains one of the greatest collections of art and artifacts in the world, but further up the island – the Munsee Lenape called it manaháhtaan – is the MET’s satellite museum, The Cloisters.

The founding of the Cloisters was a partnership among sculptor/collector George Grey Barnard, John D. Rockefeller Jr. (son of the founder of Standard Oil), the Metropolitan Museum, and other well-heeled New Yorkers.

Barnard was a fine sculptor but not financially successful – he had money troubles most of his life – so while living in France he began acquiring and selling medieval antiquities, including whole architectural structures, eventually shipping much of it to his home in upper Manhattan, establishing there his own small museum.

Most significantly, Barnard acquired substantial sections of four abandoned cloisters from French monasteries sundered by radicals during the French Revolution. Today they form key parts of the museum.

For the rest of Mr. Miner’s column, click here . . .


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