Thursday, December 9, 2010

A night at the Met

Looking towards the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art . 9:45 PM. Photo: JH.
December 9, 2010. Cold in New York, although still not that cold.

The Michael’s lunch. Very festive it is right now and the mood was thus yesterday. I was lunching with Geraldine Fabrikant of The New York Times. At the big round table one right next to ours were the boyz, aka the Imber Gang – Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman, Jeff Greenfield. Missing from the crew was Michael Kramer.

Gerry Fabrikant did a piece on this lunch table for The New York Times last June. In case you missed it, here’s the link (interesting).
At Michael's: DPC with Geraldine Fabrikant of The New York Times.
Around the room: Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong with Sara Nelson of O magazine, and then Kerry Kennedy; Andy Lack; Esther Newberg; Nikki Haskell with Lara Spencer and Emily Smith of Page Six; Herb Siegel and son Bill Siegel; Lisa Linden; Liz Oliver and Ava Fiener; Mickey Ateyeh; Catherine Saxton and Dr. Ruth; Linda Fairstein (who has a new book coming out in March 2011) and Jane Horvitz of Cleveland; Jim Abernathy; Abera Potkin; Christine Taylor with Julia Goldin; Peter Brown; Mark Cornell of Moet-Hennessy USA: Steven Greenberg; Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, Richard Wurman; Robert Manning.

Last night in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art held its 13th annual Acquisitions Fund Benefit dinner. This is a kind of “thank you” dinner (black tie) that the museum holds every year for those who contribute to their acquisition funds.

The black tie dinner began with cocktails in the entrance gallery. An event of this sort in this great monumental gallery puts everyone at ease perhaps because it reduces the size of all of us kindly; the room commands.
The Temple Dendur as guests were entering for dinner. 8:45 pm.
In the crowd: Mrs. and Mrs. James Houghton, Mr. and Mrs. Parker Gilbert, Gale Hayman and Dr. Richard Bockman, James Zirin, Denise and Andrew Saul, Henri Barguirdjian and Marianne Lafiteau, Lisa Schiff, Emilia Saint Amand and Fred Krimendahl, Liz and Jeff Peek, Annette de la Renta, Betsey and Bill Ruprecht, Adrien Meyer, Argie and Oscar Tang, Shelby White, Frances and Allan Adler, Herbert Holzer, Dan and Esty Brodsky, Stephanie Krieger and Brian Stewart, Barbie Bancroft, Pat Altschul, Christopher Mason, Renee and Robert Belfer, Carl and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

At about 8:30 the guests moved to the Temple of Dendur where we dined on: Filet of Smoked Trout and Smoke Trout Mousse with Watercress Salad with Lemon Olive Oil; Filet of Beef with Rosemary Mustard Sauce, Asparagus Tips, Baby Red and Gold Beets, Scalloped Potatoes. Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Tartlet/Whipped cream and Chocolate Shavings. Wines were: Bouchaine Estate hardonnay 2007, Cameros; and Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa.
This was the 13th annual Acquisitions Fund Benefit. History lesson. Last night we were given a video tour and description of two very important recent acquisitions: The Three Graces – Roman, 2nd century A.D. copy of a Greek work of the 2nd century B. C. Said to have been found in Rome in 1892 in via Torre dei Conti 15, near the ancient Forum of Nerva and Vespasian’s Temple of Peace. Sixteen full-size Roman marble copies of this famous group are known today. The Met’s acquisition is one of the finest and best preserved examples.

Three Graces — Aglaia (Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (abundance) – the handmaidens of Aphrodite – is one of the most famous compositions known from antiquity. The sculpture may have been originally placed in a garden or a public building such as a bath. It can be dated to the Hadrianic or Early Antoinine period by the ovoid form of the base and the molding on its front.
James Houghton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Met introducing Thomas Campbell.
Thomas Campbell, director, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A video showing the Hanoverian kettledrums in procession.
The kettle drums with their original crimson banners.
The second were the Kettle Drums, Hannover, 1779, Silver, iron, calfskin. Stamped on each drum and each lug (Franz Peter) Bunsen. From the Hanoverian royal family in whose possession they were held from 1779 to 2005. Ceremonial instruments played by a drummer on horseback accompanied by similarly mounted trumpeters leading the royal procession for state events. Made for royals from the 17th through the 19th century as symbols of splendor and wealth. Made for the Royal Life Guards of George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland and elector of Hanover whose royal coat of arms they bear.

Few of these remain because they were often melted down for the huge amount of precious material they were made of. This pair is the oldest of four pairs made for English monarchs of the House of Hanover. Two later pairs remain in the possession of the British Crown. A set commissioned for William IV in the 1830s is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The original crimson banners that would have been draped around the lower portion of the drums while they were being played.
The Met last night at 10:35 pm.
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