Saffron is much more than a pigment, and its many uses can be traced back to the ancient world. Harvested from the crocus sativus, a delicate flower cultivated in places like Greece and Persia (Iran), it appears as a spice, a dye, perfume, and is regularly used in holistic medicine.
For more than six decades, Saul Steinberg (1914–1999) tackled themes of immigration, identity, war, and other complex issues in humorous yet insightful illustrations for acclaimed publications like The New Yorker. Drawing on his experiences as a Jewish Romanian immigrant who had fled to the United States from Italy at the onset of World War II, Steinberg’s unique perspective and artistic language quickly established him as one of the most renowned cartoonists of the twentieth century.
In the late 1820s, the Mendelssohn siblings, Fanny (1805–1847) and Felix (1809–1847), enjoyed some of their happiest years. Their social circle expanded, enriching their lives with gatherings filled with poetry readings, conversations, and music. Rehearsals for the now-famous revival of J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion began at the family home in October 1828.
This is a guest post by Lindsey Tyne, Conservation Librarian, NYU Libraries
Ashley Bryan (1923–2022) used colored and hand-painted papers cut into the shapes of people, ships, water, land, and sky to create the collages that fill the pages of Sail Away, 2015, as printed images. When these eighteen collages (2021.25:1–18) entered the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum in 2021 as a gift of the Ashley Bryan Center, I was drawn to the rich colors and textures of the collage papers and immediately recognized one paper, Canson Mi-Teintes®, by its distinctive honeycomb texture.
A pair of mythical beings, “Titan” and “Lion Dog,” offers an apt entry point to explore the connection between J. P. Morgan and his favorite Pekingese dog, Shun. The great financier’s legendary accomplishments frequently inspire outsized adjectives, and the fabled origins of the diminutive Pekingese conferred a mystical aura.
This is a guest post by Dr. Laura Diaz-Esteve, a historian of imperialism in Southeast Asia during the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on the American occupation of the Philippines.
Veteran historians had told me about the satisfaction of visiting an archive with preconceived ideas of your potential findings and discovering an unexpected line of inquiry even more interesting than what you had imagined. My visit to the Martin Egan Collection was my first practical encounter with such an experience.
Building and decorating J. Pierpont Morgan’s library was a carefully considered endeavor. After construction was complete, Morgan had panels of historic stained glass inset into the windows of his study, the librarian’s office, and the East Room, as well as in smaller spaces such as his bathroom and his manuscript vault.
This is a guest post by Araceli Bremauntz-Enriquez (she/her), Morgan Library & Museum Summer Graduate Fellow, CUNY, The Graduate Center.
Belle da Costa Greene, the Morgan Library & Museum’s first director, worked devotedly to expand, organize, and research the museum’s collection. Outside of her role at the Morgan, she acquired works of art and curated a substantial personal collection of works on paper, sculpture, and paintings.
The 15th-century Venetian artist known as the Master of the Pico Pliny enjoyed a career spanning 1460 to 1505, in which they produced hand-painted decoration in both manuscripts and incunabula and designed woodcuts for printed books.
The Morgan recently acquired a rare copy of the Ars moriendi blockbook, printed in the Netherlands about 1467–69 (identified in the literature on blockbooks as edition IIA, that is, the first state of the second edition). This fragmentary copy—only fifteen of twenty-four total leaves—was in a private collection in Belgium.