Morgan Library and Museum

225 Madison Ave

The Morgan Library, a complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of America's greatest collectors and cultural benefactors. As early as 1890 Morgan had begun to assemble a collec... more

The Morgan Library, a complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of America's greatest collectors and cultural benefactors. As early as 1890 Morgan had begun to assemble a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts; early printed books; and old master drawings and prints. Mr. Morgan's library, as it was known in his lifetime, was built between 1902 and 1906 adjacent to his New York residence at Madison Avenue and 36th Street. Designed by Charles McKim of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the Library was intended as something more than a repository of rare materials. Majestic in appearance yet intimate in scale, the structure was to reflect the nature and stature of its holdings. The result was an Italian Renaissance–style palazzo with three magnificent rooms epitomizing America's Age of Elegance. Called "one of the seven wonders of the Edwardian World" and completed three years before McKim's death, it is considered by many to be his masterpiece. In 1924, eleven years after Pierpont Morgan's death, his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867–1943), known as Jack, realized that the Library... more

The Morgan Library, a complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of America's greatest collectors and cultural benefactors. As early as 1890 Morgan had begun to assemble a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts; early printed books; and old master drawings and prints.

Mr. Morgan's library, as it was known in his lifetime, was built between 1902 and 1906 adjacent to his New York residence at Madison Avenue and 36th Street. Designed by Charles McKim of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the Library was intended as something more than a repository of rare materials. Majestic in appearance yet intimate in scale, the structure was to reflect the nature and stature of its holdings. The result was an Italian Renaissance–style palazzo with three magnificent rooms epitomizing America's Age of Elegance. Called "one of the seven wonders of the Edwardian World" and completed three years before McKim's death, it is considered by many to be his masterpiece. In 1924, eleven years after Pierpont Morgan's death, his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867–1943), known as Jack, realized that the Library had become too important to remain in private hands. In creating an institution dedicated to serving scholars and the public alike, and in what constituted one of the most momentous cultural gifts in U.S. history, he fulfilled his father's dream of making the library and its treasures available to the public.

Over the years—through purchases and generous gifts—the Library's holdings of rare materials have continued to grow, and important music manuscripts, early children's books, Americana, and materials from the twentieth century have been acquired. Without losing its decidedly domestic feeling, the Library has also considerably expanded its physical space. The Annex was built on the site of Pierpont Morgan's brownstone. Completed in 1928, the addition consisted of a large entrance foyer, a reading room for scholars, and an exhibition hall. The new structure was joined to the original library by means of a connecting gallery called the Cloister (recently renamed the Dr. Rudolf J. and Lore Heinemann Gallery). A dramatic addition occurred in 1987 when the Library doubled its size with the acquisition of Jack Morgan's nearby town house. A garden court was built to connect the house with the Annex and original library. This expansion, completed in 1991, made way for both more exhibitions and a wider array of lectures, concerts, and other educational programs.

Recently the largest expansion in the Morgan's history, added 75,000 square feet to the campus. Completed in April 2006 and designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, the project increased exhibition space by more than fifty percent and added important visitor amenities, including a 280-seat performance hall, a welcoming entrance on Madison Avenue, a new café and a new restaurant, a shop, a new reading room, and collections storage. Piano's design integrates the Morgan's three historical buildings with three new modestly scaled steel-and-glass pavilions. A soaring central court connects the buildings and serves as a gathering place for visitors in the spirit of an Italian piazza.

Fulfilling the vision of its founders, the Morgan Library has become and continues to be an internationally recognized center for research as well as a vital museum serving a diverse public.


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Murray Hill Description

Morgan Library and Museum is located in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. Murray Hill, along with Turtle Bay and Kips Bay, lies in the vast stretch of Manhattan's East Side, between the rabble and riot of Alphabet City and the East Village and the luxuriant old money of the Upper East Side. Sedate and low-key, the neighborhood is largely home to modern residences and, middling rents, and a mash-up of long-time locals and the recently graduated, MBA set, who gladly trade in hipness points for being able to say they can afford to live in Manhattan. That is, until the Second Avenue subway opens up and Murray Hill joins the rest of the island's rent brackets.

What is essentially Midtown East East stretches from Fifth Avenue to the East River (some say Third Avenue, but what do they know), and from 40th Street to 34th Street. It is bounded by Turtle Bay to the north, Kips Bay to the south, and Midtown to the west. With Grand Central Station at its northwestern corner and the Queens Midtown Tunnel on the east, pedestrian and traffic congestion in the neighborhood is high, especially when the United Nations in session, causing a never-ending headache for residents who cherish the ever-shrinking calm of its quieter streets.

Two of New York City's most iconic pieces of architecture stand at the corner of the neighborhood— Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, both of which are fine examples of Beaux Arts and Art Deco, respectively. Grand Central, while not a part of the storied and gorgeous trail of Pennsylvania Railroad stations—that would be Penn Station's sole claim in NYC—is still one of the most impressive railroad terminuses in America, and rivals even some of the best stations in the world. Its gleaming brass clock, the exquisite staircases, and the unique celestial ceiling, with its light bluish-green background filled with well-known constellations dotted by tiny lights. Restored in recent years, the cavernous main hall is bathed in natural light during the day, and pulsates with activity day and night, thanks not least to its three busy restaurants: Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, Metrazur, and the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar. The gorgeous Chrysler Building gleams nearby, and while the building isn't open to tourists, its staggeringly beautiful Art Deco lobby, with murals celebrating transportation themes, is definitely one of New York’s finest.

Meanwhile, the Morgan Library & Museum presents diverse cultural offerings and is home to a dazzling collection of rare books, all housed in an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo that reflects the nature and stature of its contents. Murray Hill is also home to various educational and cultural institutions such as the CUNY Graduate Center, Stern College for Women and the Oxford University Press. Other notable establishments include the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Scandinavia House, which is dedicated to the education and preservation of Nordic culture.

There are also plenty of dining options on the Hill. If you're craving Mexican, try Baby Bo's Cantina on 2nd Avenue, or perhaps a pricier Italian meal at venerable neighborhood institution Rossini's, or go full-on Mediterranean at Salute. Murray Hill also counts the original The Palm among its favorite eateries, a casual elegant restaurant that has remained in its place since 1926, long before their brand branched out into other parts of Manhattan and, eventually, from coast-to-coast. The walls are adorned with caricatures of nationally and locally famous figures, and generations have been coming back to taste the incredible hash browns or to order a three-pound jumbo lobster, not to mention the steaks that made the Palm famous in the first place!

Murray Hill is a great neighborhood to stay in while you're visiting New York—it's close to many major attractions, but still out of the way enough that it makes for an easy and quick escape from the hectic pace of Midtown—and the hotel offerings in the area mirror that fact. The all-suite Affinia Dumont is among the more spacious and elegant options, while the Park South Hotel is a more moderately priced option that's still rife with style.

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Info

225 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-0008
Website

Editorial Rating

Admission And Tickets

$20 - Adults
$13 - Children (under 16)
$13 - Seniors (65 and over), Students (with current ID)

Free to members and children 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Admission is free to all Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

This Week's Hours

Tue-Thu: 10:30am-5:00pm
Fri: 10:30am-9:00pm
Sat: 10:00am-6:00pm
Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm

Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day

Nearby Subway

  • to 33rd St
  • to 34th St
  • to Grand Central

Featured On

Upcoming Events

New at the Morgan: Acquisitions Since 2004

Presenting over one hundred works that underscore the great scope of the Morgan's collecting interests, the exhibition includes old master and modern drawings, literary and musical manuscripts, illuminated texts, and rare printed books and bindings. The selections were drawn from more than 1,200 wor... [ + ]ks acquired since 2004 and include seminal figures from various genres.

The earliest work on view is a treatise in praise of poetry, dating to ca. 1300; the most recent, a drawing by Alexander Ross, dates to 2007. Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are represented by, among other objects, the jewel-like Prayer Book of Queen Claude de France and the Book of Hours of the scribe Guillaume Lambert. Drawings include sheets by Rembrandt, Degas, Sargent, and Matisse. The show also features manuscripts and letters by Robert Frost, Vincent van Gogh, Henry James, Dylan Thomas, and Oscar Wilde. A large group of first edition music scores that came to the Morgan as part of the James Fuld Collection are also on view, notably a sketch by Beethoven for his Seventh Symphony and a set of proofs of Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

A highlight of the exhibition is the prominence of works by contemporary artists, a recent area of interest for the Morgan. In addition to the work by Alexander Ross, on view are drawings by Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Robert Morris, and Bruce Nauman, among others. Modern photography is also represented with works by Irving Penn and Diane Arbus.

11/20/2019 10:00 AM
Wed, November 20
10:00AM
$
$20 - Adults
$13 - Children (under 16)
$13 - Seniors (65 and over), Students (with current ID)

Free to members and children 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Admission is free to all Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Mr. Morgan's Library and Study

In 1902, owning more treasures than his Madison Avenue home could hold, Pierpont Morgan commissioned Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909) to build a library for them. McKim was regarded as the dean of American architecture; his style infused classical discipline with measured grandeur and opulence, and ... [ + ]he proposed to build Morgan an Italianate marble library that would pay architectural tribute to the High Renaissance. In 2006, a century after its completion, the McKim building has remained little changed since Morgan's day. Both the exterior and interior of the original building are designated New York City Landmarks; the secretary of the interior has designated the library a national historic landmark.

Rotunda
The interior of the McKim building consists of three rooms radiating off the east, north, and west sides of the Rotunda, a vaulted entrance foyer. The restrained simplicity of the building's façade yields to the splendor of color and texture in the Rotunda, supplied by variegated marble surfaces and columns, mosaic panels, and columns of lapis lazuli. The marble floor, with its central porphyry disc, owes its design to that of the Villa Pia in the Vatican gardens. The decorative programs for the apse, ceiling, and lunettes of the Rotunda were designed and executed by Harry Siddons Mowbray.

Mr. Morgan's Study
The Study is the most sumptuous and yet personal of the rooms and the one that best reflects the personal tastes of its original occupant. It was here that Morgan met with art dealers, scholars, business colleagues, and friends. With few exceptions, all the paintings, sculpture, and decorative objects in the Study where here in Pierpont Morgan's day. The paintings are primarily by Italian and Northern Renaissance masters; the objects d'art range in date from the third millennium B.C. to the nineteenth century, and give some indication of the original scope and diversity of Morgan's once vast holdings.

Mr. Morgan's Library
The Library is by far the largest and grandest of the rooms in the McKim building. This room, with its triple tiers of bookcases fashioned of bronze and inlaid Circassian walnut, originally housed most of Pierpont Morgan's books. Above the fireplace is a sixteenth-century Brussels tapestry. Harry Siddons Mowbray's ceiling paintings feature portraits of great men of the past alternating with female muses and signs of the zodiac.

Librarian's Office
Now open to the public for the first time, the Librarian's Office is located at the north end of the Rotunda. This is the smallest of the McKim rooms and was the office of Belle da Costa Greene, Morgan's personal librarian, a leading figure in the international art world, and the first director of the Morgan. In addition to a number of original furnishings, the Librarian's Office contains, among other objects, a bronze candelabrum with figures of Juno, Minerva, and Venus by Antoine-Louis Barye, and a bronze sculpture of John Ruskin by Gutzon Borglum. The bronze bust over the mantle, formerly thought to be of Petrarch, has recently been identified as Boccacio, and was made after a marble bust by Giovanni Francesco Rustici. The ceiling paintings are by James Wall Finn and his studio.

11/20/2019 10:30 AM
Wed, November 20
10:30AM
$
$20 - Adults
$13 - Children (under 16)
$13 - Seniors (65 and over), Students (with current ID)

Free to members and children 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Admission is free to all Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

The Morgan–Renzo Piano Building Workshop Project with a Brief History

The Morgan expansion project is the subject of a special exhibition that begins with a historical survey of the site from the 1850s through today. The expansion project is represented by drawings, models, and photographs.

The exhibition is organized by The Morgan Library & Museum and the Renzo Pi... [ + ]ano Building Workshop and features materials from the conceptual design phase to the finished scheme.

The Renzo Piano Building Workshop's project for the Morgan follows an exceptional architectural legacy. The original library, designed by Charles McKim and opened for Pierpont Morgan's personal use a hundred years ago, is an American Renaissance icon. Of the numerous structures that once stood on the site now occupied by the Morgan, three remain: the Morgan house, the 1928 Annex, and McKim's masterpiece. Renzo Piano reckoned with these three landmarks as he brought practical and pleasing coherence to the complex. This installation is in three parts. The development of the Morgan's current property is traced from its beginning in the 1850s. It is not a static building history. Structures were put up, added to, altered, demolished—whatever their owners deemed necessary or desirable. The second part examines how Renzo Piano realized the Morgan's institutional goals and rationalized and developed the complex that he first encountered in 2000. The final section examines aspects of design development, and images of finished work link architectural drawings to completed construction.

11/20/2019 10:30 AM
Wed, November 20
10:30AM
$
$20 - Adults
$13 - Children (under 16)
$13 - Seniors (65 and over), Students (with current ID)

Free to members and children 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Admission is free to all Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Masterworks from the Morgan Near Eastern Seals

Pierpont Morgan took great interest in ancient Near Eastern seals, as is evident from his collection, dating 3500–330 B.C. This exhibition displays a number of the best examples of these objects, which are among the earliest known pictorial carvings used to communicate ideas. Created for about three... [ + ] thousand years in the region the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia, or "the land between two rivers," the function of seals was both practical, as a means of identification, and amuletic, intended to protect or benefit the owner in some way. They are among the smallest pictorial objects ever produced—often just one inch in size—intricately detailed by sculptors who carved them with simple tools in semiprecious stones.

This is the first time that the Morgan's collection of seals will be the focus of a theme-based exhibition—examining the development of the iconography of power as represented in the cylinder seals from their beginnings in the late fourth millennium B.C. with the emerging temple states through to the great empires of the first millennium B.C. The exhibition will end with the absorption of Mesopotamia into the Persian Empire, along with its ancient iconography, which was subsequently used by the Achaemenid kings until the arrival of Alexander the Great.

In addition to the cylinder seals, a larger-scale statue from the ancient Near East is on view to demonstrate the close relationship between seals and other major artworks. Highlights of the works on view include Nude Bearded Hero Wrestling with Water Buffalo; Bull-Man Fighting Lion (ca. 2334–2154 B.C.), an Akkadian period seal depicting two heraldic pairs and emphasizing the concepts of force and power, and A Winged Hero Pursuing Two Ostriches (ca. 12th–11th century B.C.), one of the most striking of the Morgan's Middle Assyrian seals.

11/20/2019 10:30 AM
Wed, November 20
10:30AM
$
$20 - Adults
$13 - Children (under 16)
$13 - Seniors (65 and over), Students (with current ID)

Free to members and children 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Admission is free to all Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
View All Upcoming Events

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