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NYC – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Madagascar Couple
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Image by wallyg
Madagascar Couple
Sakalava peoples, Menabe region, Madagascar
17th-late 18th century

This Madagascar couple ranks as the foremost artistic achievement of a region where African and Pacific Island aesthetic influences meet. The idea of the fundamental complementarity of man and woman that is so eloquently depicted is an important theme in Malagasy spiritual life. The work’s quiet power and lyrically balanced symmetry have led it to be one of the rare examples of southeast African sculpture to have influenced Western art. Created as the finial of a freestanding exterior monument, the couple at the summit appear to have been designed as the pair to one in the Louvre attributed to the same artist. This work was known in Paris by the early twentieth century and entered the collection of the British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein about 1922-23.

Pruchase Lila Acheson Wallace, Daniel and Marian Malcolm, and James J. Ross Gifts, 2001

The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s permanent collection contains more than two million works of art from around the world. It opened its doors on February 20, 1872, housed in a building located at 681 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Under their guidance of John Taylor Johnston and George Palmer Putnam, the Met’s holdings, initially consisting of a Roman stone sarcophagus and 174 mostly European paintings, quickly outgrew the available space. In 1873, occasioned by the Met’s purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot antiquities, the museum decamped from Fifth Avenue and took up residence at the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. However, these new accommodations were temporary; after negotiations with the city of New York, the Met acquired land on the east side of Central Park, where it built its permanent home, a red-brick Gothic Revival stone "mausoleum" designed by American architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mold. As of 2006, the Met measures almost a quarter mile long and occupies more than two million square feet, more than 20 times the size of the original 1880 building.

In 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was ranked #17 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1967. The interior was designated in 1977.

National Historic Register #86003556

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