J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library Reopens Read more »
Library (East Room)
Pierpont Morgan's stunning, multi-tiered library, also known as the East Room, was equipped with a state-of-the-art, yet subtle new lighting system. A late-nineteenth-century Persian rug of the type originally in the room was installed. New display cases exhibit some of the Morgan's most valued objects from its medieval holdings and its renowned collections of rare books and literary, historical, and music manuscripts.
The revamped lighting allows visitors to fully appreciate the splendor of the library's decorative ceiling, which is the work of noted muralist Henry Siddons Mowbray (1858–1928), as well as the room's grand fireplace and the sixteenth-century tapestry that constitute its focal points.
The inlaid walnut bookshelves that contain Morgan's collection of rare books was enhanced with non-reflective acrylic allowing visitors to better identify individual titles and to appreciate the beauty of the exquisite bindings.
The original pendant chandelier, preserved since its removal about seventy years ago, was restored and re-hung at the entrance to the library, and seating was installed to allow visitors to spend more time contemplating this extraordinary room.
Study (West Room)
The Study, or West Room, was enriched by a more substantive display of works from the collection that surrounded Pierpont Morgan in the early 1900s when he used the room for personal business, as well as with objects that have been acquired since.
Additional works of sculpture were placed on the low bookshelves lining the perimeter of the room and the lush, velvet-covered furnishings were painstakingly reupholstered to evoke the atmosphere of the original study.
Another change has been to allow visitors to look into the vault that Morgan had built to house his favorite objects. A curtain shrouding the entrance was removed, new lighting fixtures have been installed, and the shelves of the vault have been filled with original storage boxes as well as books and small works of art.
The North Room, the office of the Morgan's first director, Belle da Costa Greene, was transformed to display some of the earliest works in the Morgan's collection, including objects from the ancient Near East, Egypt, Rome, and Greece, as well as artifacts from the early medieval period.
Bookshelves along the perimeter of the room were converted to well-lit cases to exhibit these early items, which include a selection of the ancient Near Eastern seals collected by Pierpont Morgan. The installation also includes jeweled and metalwork objects dating from the second to the tenth centuries that from the collection of Morgan Trustee Eugene V. Thaw and his wife, Clare, as well as an eleventh-century jeweled book binding. The room now houses a number of freestanding cases for additional objects as well.
The original chandeliers, removed two generations ago, were refinished and reinstalled, allowing full appreciation of the recently cleaned ceiling and upper tier of bookcases. Also, two Egyptian basalt votive figures on new pedestals now flank the room's fireplace.
The marble surfaces and mosaic panels that are signature features of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library Rotunda were cleaned. New lighting simulates the natural light that originally came through the oculus and enhances the Mowbray-decorated apse, ceiling, and lunettes that depict figures from classical antiquity and the great literary epochs of the past.
The space was also enriched with new display cases housing some of the Morgan's collection of Americana, including letters by Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, a life mask of George Washington, and copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Star-Spangled Banner.