At The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Two and a half hours is no where near a sufficient amount of time to see enough of the Met, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time to see the Late 19th & Early 20th Century European Painting Wing, with just enough time left over for a panicked phone call with my credit card company, and a harried cycle around the gift shop (I say this frequently but it bears repeating, as it was one of the best things my dad ever said: Every good cultural experience must end in a retail experience.”). I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to Impressionist paintings, or rather a heat-seeking missile. Get out of my way, arms and armory. Move it, musical instruments. Modern art? Girl bye. I need to visit my old lovers: Claude, Pierre-Auguste, and Vincent. The Met did not disappoint. The last time I visited was over four years ago, and there were so many treasures to discover this time that I practically floated around the galleries, like something out of a dream. When I saw this Monet, I actually burst into tears. I circled the rooms over and over, finding new things to delight over, or swoon over, every time, stopping every so often to scribble something down in my notebook: the dark, beady eyes Manet seemed to favor painting, or how nothing stays still in a van Gogh.

I could’ve spent days there.

How’s this for a humblebrag: I was across the room and noticed a pair of still lifes on an opposite wall, lush flowers in low bowls, dark, near muddy backgrounds, and thought, “Those look like Fantin-Latour.” I walked over to get a closer looks, and they were. My dad would have been so proud of me.

This might be a slightly controversial suggestion, but you shouldn’t pay the recommended $25 admission rate. Now, I consider myself an enthusiastic museum supporter and patron; museums are my happy place. I have a membership to both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Louvre (the latter, it’s worth pointing out, has an annual membership fee of around $15 more than the Met suggests you pay for one visit). The $25 admission fee is a wildly inflated, noncompulsory rate that was actually the subject of a lawsuit back in 2013. An 1893 New York State Law mandates that “the public should be admitted [to the museum] for free at least five days and two evenings per week.” The Met is a non-profit organization, receives free rent from the city, pays no income tax, and has a $2.58 billion (with a ‘B’) investment portfolio. Admission fees only cover 11% of the museum’s operating budget. And still, armed with all of this knowledge yet still happy to pay $10 for my visit, the person working the ticket window threw the most severe shade at me for not ponying up the full, recommended $25. The judge in the 2013 lawsuit ruled that visitors could pay “at least a penny” for entry, snarky sir.

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March 19, 2015 / art / photo / At the Museum / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

22 comments

  • Your father would have indeed been proud of you. Not only for recognizing Fantin-Latour, but for spending time at the Met.
    That being said, if your mother weren’t so cheap and bought higher than a dual membership at PMA, your admission probably would have been part of the reciprocal agreement. We will never know…..

    • I think one of the greatest things daddy (and you!) did for me during my formative years was stress the importance of museums (even if I didn’t enjoy the Picasso exhibit that one time ;). Is there really a reciprocal agreement between the two? I know that under The International Council on Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS, one membership allows you access to a slew of different museums, including the Louvre, but I need to do more research on membership reciprocity in the states! That would’ve saved me $10. xo

  • PREACH. I always pay $10. $5 if I’m ducking in just to wave hello to Madame X and my favorite galleries an hour before closing. I think it’s super shady that they’re still not really publicizing that the $25 fee is optional, and I’m sure it keeps a lot of people here in the city from experiencing the incredible cultural enrichment that their tax dollars help fund.

    • Slow clap. Seriously! For $25 I better be spending a full eight hours there, and even then, competing with the insane amount of crowds and class trip groups…I still don’t think it’s worth it. The signs at the ticket counters have the word “Recommended” under the admission fees, but the text is smaller, and of course no one tells you that when you step up to the window. You make an excellent point about NYC tax dollars! You are entitled to that museum, for free. xo

  • I was lucky enough to never have to pay for entrance to the museum as my employee pass got me free admittance that one magical summer. But I’m sure when I go back, I’ll be ponying up to get that colourful button… I’ll gladly do it just to be a little closer to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. (And you go girl on the art recognition!)

    • Um, I’m going to need to hear more about this summer job at the Met. It certainly sounds magical already! And sadly, they don’t give out buttons anymore, just stickers with the date on them. The PMA in Philly still gives out metal buttons, though! xo

  • i love going to museums with humble braggers like you. steven can always tell me the history of paintings with his background in art and illustration. you’re like a personal tour guide, it’s lovely, be proud! xo

    • How lucky that your husband also doubles as a personal museum guide! I will say the placards next to each painting at the Met, at least the ones I saw, had really interesting, detailed information on each painting, not just the regular “Artist’s Name, date of birth – date of death, Painting Title.” I want that job! xo

  • Your photos are stunning! I feel like I’ve been there now :)
    Thanks for sharing. Hopefully I’ll actually get there for real one day!

    • Thank you, Lauren!! A special trip one day is definitely worth it. xo

  • the Louvre is actually much more expensive than that. you still get the student/young folks rate. once you hit my age, and I don’t think you are that far off, it doubles!!!!! it’s 80 euro a year, but you can bring someone else along… that said, 25 dollars seems excessive. in the UK I think they want a 6 pounds donation for the free permanent collections. more reasonable. and exactly where I’m heading next week, to spend hours and days in museums as well. I’m with you on that. I’d happily move in there if I could :)

    • Oh really? Yikes! I just checked and it looks like I have until I turn 30 to take advantage of the cheaper membership rate. All the more reason to get my derrière back tout de suite! My Louvre membership allowed me to bring someone on Wednesday and Friday evenings, but I don’t think €80 for two adults and three children (according to their site) is too expensive! I’d rather pay that than $25 per visit. It’s still bonkers to me they are allowed to advertise that “recommended” admission fee. Have fun in the UK! Looks like you’re already there? xo

  • Quand on est dans un musée comme celle ci, Je me sens envahi par un sentiment de paix et du bien-être. Comme “Holly” dans Breakfast at Tifanny’s, je l’impression que rien de mauvaise peut m’arriver dans un endroit comme ça. C’est tellement sécurisant…Bon weekend printanier !xo

    • Je suis d’accord, Eva! Rien de mauvaise peut m’arriver dans un musée. Le temps et le monde s’arrêtent. J’adore l’image de Holly, c’est la même pour moi! Elle a eu Tiffanys, nous avons des musées :) xo

  • your dad would be SO proud. i think it’s awesome that you were able to recognize the artist’s work. if you don’t want to brag, i’m going to do it for you!
    and thanks for dropping some knowledge in re: Met admissions. i was totally duped last time we visited NYC and turned around at the door when we saw how pricey the fee was!

    • Aw, thank you, L! I usually try not to brag, but with Henri Fantin-Latour in particular, I’ve spent so much time studying his paintings and writing about his still lifes for my book that I did feel a surge of smug pride at being able to spot new ones, just based on what I know of his style.
      Next time you get back to NYC, walk in and slap a $5 bill on the counter and go on with your bad self! :) xo

  • What a gorgeous museum. So peaceful, even through photos. And that Vincent!

    • That Vincent was so haunting and powerful! For something so small, it conveyed such emotion. xo

  • Un musée sublime , les peintures y sont splendides et la lumière de la verrière offre une ouverture sur l’extérieur magnifique.
    Félicitations pour le talent d’expert en art, vous avez un oeil averti.

    • Merci beaucoup, Veronique. Vous êtes très gentile! Le musée est vraiment incroyable, et les peintures sont un rêve. xo

  • i am sure that is just one more reason to add to the list that would make your dad proud. and the prices are interesting. so you don’t have to pay $25? i am hoping i am reading that right because if not, $25 per entry certainly sends a message that art is only for the elitists of the world. i agree with the “at least a penny” method ;) xoxo

    • Ohh, thank you, darling. That means so much to me. And no, you don’t have to pay the $25 fee! They use the word “recommended” in tiny font beneath the prices, but you can pay $1 or $5, they have to let you in! In an ideal world, everyone would have $25 to spend on an afternoon of art, but in reality, it’s greedy of them to recommend it and you’re right, it creates an unnecessary barrier around a public collection of art. xo