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Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries

The Met | Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries” rounds out the cycle of centennial exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum. Enough is already widely known about its general set-up, that it will be best here to steer clear of issues like the original (international) plans, means of selection, “experiments” (what can they prove?) in display, etc. For our purposes it is best to take it simply as it stands and decide, by being specific but without pretending to be exhaustive, how consistently and by what means the “masterpiece” standard is maintained.

For whatever reason, almost all the works of art in the exhibition are already owned by the Metropolitan Museum. Now we have, I think, a right to expect that the Museum which once hired Roger Fry is capable of readily discerning those of its possessions which faultlessly shine out as self-sufficient, A-1, top-drawer art works; and because it is half a century

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