Slight History

Slight History

Collated, for no particular reason other than an interest in William M. Ivins Jr.—a slight history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:

  • Founded in 1870 from three private collections of Old Masters paintings and a Roman sarcophagus

  • Moved to Central Park location in 1880, and gifted with a collection of Old Masters drawings by Vanderbilt

  • Prints division organized in 1916, under the direction of William M. Ivins Jr.

  • Photographs first entered the collection in 1928, through a gift from Alfred Steiglitz

  • Drawings division organized in 1960

  • Prints division renamed “Prints and Photographs” in 1970

  • Drawings division combined with the prints division in 1993

In actual life, people who exemplify Arnoldian culture are no more important than other people, and they have very rarely been among the great creators, the discoverers of new ideas, or the leaders towards social enlightenment. Most of what we think of as culture is little more than the unquestioning acceptance of standardized values.

William M. Ivins Jr., Prints and Visual Communication (1953).