While everyone else is talking about the 74 positions cut at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Alexandra Peers is reading the tea leaves of the museum’s latest ascquisition, a portrait of Pope Benedict IV by Pierre Subleyras:
For those who study power shifts at the Met — and that’s most of the art world — the purchase is a sign that Keith Christiansen, the Met’s curator of Italian and French paintings, may be consolidating influence under the Campbell regime. (The new director is an expert in Renaissance tapestry.) Just last month, Christiansen bought a work by Renaissance master Jacopo Bassano that’s already on view. [ . . . ]
The purchase comes at a time when the Met has publicly expressed some worries about money. Late last month, Met chairman James Houghton posted a letter to members regarding “The Global Economic Crises” on the Met’s website. It announced that the museum would be closing some gift shops, starting a hiring freeze, and added that “now, more than ever, your attendance … and generosity are critically important to the future” of the institution.
The Met Drops a Cool Million for an Old Master (Culture Vulture/NY Magazine)