Next Saturday will mark three years since we last visited the Morgan Library & Museum. We were in New York to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday, and the next day we had to head back to midtown to return the tuxes Joel and I had rented. (I had realized a few weeks earlier that rather than bringing clothing from Seattle (me) and Boston (Joel), we could instead go to local branches of some national chain, get fitted, then do the pick up and return at a Manhattan branch.)
Joel had flown back to Boston that morning. Gail and I lugged the clothing down to the tux place, then I suggested we walk from there over to the Morgan, just a few blocks away. If I were blogging in those days, I would have reported on the wonders we saw, as well as the still new Renzo Piano addition. (See Nicolai Ouroussoff’s NYT review of the addition, a year earlier, here.) There are the glories of the permanent collection, of course. There was a special exhibition of some illuminated manuscripts, maybe from Turkey or thereabouts. And there was another special exhibition, of letters from Vincent van Gogh to Émile Bernard, complemented by paintings and drawings mentioned in the letters. Oh, here — a link to the show.
Anyway, it’s time to go back. Today the historic 1906 building that Charles McKim designed to serve as J.P. Morgan’s office and library reopened after a restoration. Here is the Morgan’s description of the project:
n 2010 the Morgan restored the interior of the 1906 library to its original grandeur. A new lighting system was installed to illuminate the extraordinary murals and decor of the four historic rooms. Intricate marble surfaces and applied ornamentation were cleaned, period furniture was reupholstered, and original fixtures—including three chandeliers removed decades ago—were restored and reinstalled. A late-nineteenth-century Persian rug (similar to the one originally there) was laid in the grand East Room. The ornate ceiling of the librarian’s office, or North Room, was cleaned, and visitors are able to enter the refurbished space—now a gallery—for the first time. New, beautifully crafted display cases throughout the 1906 library feature selections from the Morgan’s collection of great works of art and literature from the ancient world to modern times.