In a relationship with The Met that spanned more than six decades, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman enriched the lives of countless visitors through extraordinary gifts.
This exhibition will celebrate the couple's generosity with a selection of drawings, prints, and books from the Wrightsman Collection, as well as a few works acquired with the Wrightsman Fund. Some of the earliest gifts focus on designs for architecture and interior design. On display is a small sampling of several hundred drawings, covering a broad range of subjects from designs for palaces and gardens to furniture, costumes, and textiles.
The Wrightsmans went on to build a collection of figural drawings, with a focus on eighteenth-century France. Jayne in particular had a strong interest in artworks by women, as well as themes of exoticism and travel. Artists she favored include Jean Étienne Liotard, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, and Gabriel de Saint-Aubin.
Her interests also extended into the nineteenth century, represented here by watercolors by John Frederick Lewis, a British artist who lived in Egypt, and by an outstanding group of portraits drawn by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Her gift of both paintings and etchings by James Tissot, a Frenchman who spent part of his career in London, allows for comparison of his garden subjects across media.