January 29–March 29, 2020, The Met Breuer, Floor 5
In 1954, at the age of 17, the architect Michael A. Rubenstein bought his first work of art—a painting by the American artist John Hartell (1902–1995)—and it marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for collecting. Today the collection spans two centuries and consists mostly of drawings and watercolors, of which 160 are promised gifts to The Met from Rubenstein and his late wife, Juliet van Vliet Rubenstein. On view at The Met Breuer now through March 29, 2020, From Géricault to Rockburne: Selections from the Michael and Juliet Rubenstein Gift will highlight some 50 works, ranging from a drawing by the French artist Théodore Géricault from about 1818—the earliest work in the show—to a 2019 mixed-media work on paper by Rubenstein’s friend and artist Dorothea Rockburne.
The gift is part of The Met’s 2020 Collections Initiative celebrating The Museum’s 150th anniversary.
“We are thrilled and grateful to receive this tremendous gift from Michael Rubenstein, which he assembled with his late wife, Juliet,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “It is a remarkable act of generosity that will greatly strengthen The Met’s holdings of drawings, paintings, and watercolors from the 19th and 20th centuries.”
In developing an informed and discerning eye as a collector, Mr. Rubenstein visited galleries and museums—including frequent visits to The Met that started in his childhood—attended auctions, and befriended artists. “The Rubensteins’ collection is not just the gathering over many decades of works by artists they loved,” commented Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met, “but its significance is also a testament to their passion for connoisseurship and the desire to live surrounded by art.”
The exhibition will feature drawings, paintings, and watercolors by European and American modern and contemporary artists—both widely and lesser known—including Eve Aschheim (b. 1958), Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), Philip Guston (1913–1980), Franz Kline (1910–1962), and Anne Ryan (1889–1954). The works on view, all acquired over the 65-year period from 1954 to 2019, represent Rubenstein’s wide-ranging taste, as they vary in style and subject matter, ranging from the abstract, geometric, and linear to the lyrical and figural.
From Géricault to Rockburne: Selections from the Michael and Juliet Rubenstein Gift is organized by Sabine Rewald, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator for Modern Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 2020, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a dynamic range of exhibitions, programs, and public events. Highlights of the year will include the exhibition Making The Met, 1870–2020, on view March 30–August 2; the opening of the newly renovated and reimagined galleries devoted to British decorative arts and design in March; the display of new gifts throughout the Museum; a three-day-long celebration in June; and a story-collecting initiative. More information is available at www.metmuseum.org/150.