- Newly reopened American Wing at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York shows American history through art
- Collection includes iconic paintings of American Revolution and American Civil War until beginning of 20th century
- Preoccupation with protecting natural environment and use of European styles reflected in the collection
- Collection now houses new acquisition, a bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln
With its early colonial portraits, depictions of grand historical battles, transcendentalist landscapes and intimate, turn-of-the-century paintings of the elite classes, the collection of American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York ranks as one of the finest in the world.
It also functions as a visual timeline for the events in the nation's history.
"It's American history through the eyes of American artists," said Morrison Heckscher, Chairman of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Most of the major trends, the events of importance in the nation's history, were addressed by artists in one way or another -- war, Civil War, the environment, all of these things," he said.
Now, the American Wing at the museum has been re-configured for the 21st century and has re-opened to the public following a decade-long renovation program.
"The display of the art is broadly chronological," said Heckscher, explaining that the re-designed galleries move from early colonial paintings, onto the post-Revolutionary period, the Hudson River School, the Civil War era and finally to the late-nineteenth century paintings of John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.
Also on display are collections of American decorative arts, including furniture, silverware and ceramics.