The Metropolitan Museum of Art announces the availability for research of the Robert Lehman Papers, 97 linear feet of archival material related to the collecting of art by financier Robert Lehman (1891-1969) and his father, Philip (1861-1947). Over the course of sixty years, first Philip and then Robert assembled a collection of thousands of artworks with scholarly knowledge, astute connoisseurship, and skillful negotiation of the art market. Spanning seven hundred years of western European art, from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, the works include paintings, drawings, manuscript illumination, sculpture, glass, textiles, antique frames, maiolica, enamels, and precious jeweled objects. Upon Robert Lehman’s death in 1969, he bequeathed 2,600 works to the Metropolitan Museum with the stipulation that they be exhibited as a private collection, reflecting his belief that “important works of art, privately owned, should be beyond one’s own private enjoyment and [that] the public at large should be afforded some means of seeing them.” The Robert Lehman Wing, erected to display the collection, opened to the public in 1975.
The Robert Lehman Papers document the acquisition and cultivation of this magnificent art collection by Philip and Robert Lehman, and include correspondence with galleries, dealers, advisers and museums, invoices, insurance records, object descriptions and inventories. Prominent individuals represented in the papers include art dealers and consultants such as F. Kleinberger, Harry S. Sperling, and Charles Durand-Ruel, as well as art historians Bernard Berenson, R. Langton Douglas, and Max Friedländer. The papers also include photographs and memorabilia regarding the Lehman family, Robert’s military service and travel. This material offers a wealth of historical information that will advance research on one of the finest private collections ever assembled in North America, and that will support scholarship in other arts and humanities disciplines. A comprehensive finding aid to the papers is available here: http://libmma.org/digital_files/archives/Robert_Lehman_papers_b1848688.pdf.
Processing of the Robert Lehman Papers was supported by a generous grant from the Robert Lehman Foundation.
For information about access to the physical materials at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information regarding the Robert Lehman Collection and the Robert Lehman Wing visit http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/museum-departments/curatorial-departments/the-robert-lehman-collection.