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Fine Arts

N

5220
.M85

COPYRIGHT

BY

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

FEBRUARY, 1914

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COLLECTION

INTRODUCTION

THE

HE exhibition which, through the courtesy of Mr. J. P. Morgan, the Metropolitan Museum now offers to its visitors, and which is described in the following pages, is spoken of as the "Morgan Collection." It is, however, only that part of his collection or more properly collections-which the late Mr. Morgan allowed to accumulate in Europe, and sent to this country during the year before he died. To form an idea of the extent of his collections in their entirety, it should be remembered that in addition to what is now placed on view, there is in the Museum a vast amount of material belonging to them, distributed through its various departments, such, for example, as the large gallery of Chinese porcelains, the rich and important Hoentschel collection of mediaeval works of art, the Merovingian and Germanic antiquities, many paintings exhibited in our picture galleries, and individual objects in our Egyptian and Classical collections; and besides all these there are the treasures in his Library -books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, medals, as well as

the works of art, chiefly Italian, which adorn its walls and cabinets.

Had such an assemblage represented the results of several generations of a family of collectors, it would have been a most remarkable achievement, but formed as it was by one man, and during a comparatively short period of his life, it is probably without parallel in the history of collecting, as there is to-day no collection which in range, variety, and the high average of quality outranks it. Mr. Morgan always had a passionate love for beautiful things, but although he began to acquire these in his student-days, it was not until the latter years of his life, when he relaxed somewhat his close attention to business, that he gave full play to his ambition as a collector. During that time he purchased with almost feverish zeal, willingly pursued by dealers wherever he went, they knowing it was well worth while to save their best things for him, prince of collectors as he was in more ways than one. In many cases, of course, he bought individual objects as they were offered to him, but it was also part of his policy to secure entire collections when he could, and when he knew them to be of recognized high quality, and thus he often reaped the benefit of a lifetime of patient and expert collecting in some special branch. A characteristic instance of his methods he used to describe with great enjoyment, his story being as follows: "I heard that Mr. So-and-so had a certain object in his collection that

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