The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced today that it has received a landmark gift of $80 million from trustee Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert Irving. The bequest is the largest financial gift the museum has received in recent history. The funds will establish an unrestricted art acquisitions endowment fund as well as several endowment funds for the Department of Asian Art.
“The Irvings have been inspirational donors in building the museum’s collections and galleries of Asian art since 1987,” president and CEO Daniel H. Weiss said. “This additional gift is truly transformative for the Met, and will ensure that the legacy of scholarship, programming, and collection-building they have been so instrumental in building will continue to thrive.”
In recognition of the Irvings’ support over the past thirty years, the Met designated the Florence and Herbert Irving Asian Wing in 2004. In 2015, the couple donated their collection of more than twelve hundred works of art to the museum’s Department of Asian Art, and in 2011, they endowed the position of the Florence and Herbert Irving Curator of the Arts of South and Southeast Asia, which is currently held by John Guy.
The Irving family has also announced that it will give $700 million jointly to Columbia University and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for cancer research and care.