City Life Org – Metropolitan Museum of Art announces donation of rare American weather vane


Image: Blériot Model XI Monoplane Weather Vane, California. 1909-13, copper with traces of original gilding; plane: 57 ¼ x 55 x 10 in. (145.4 x 139.7 x 25.4 cm), Directions: 38 5/8 x 38 ½ x 15 ¾ in. (98.1 x 97.8 x 40 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Michel and Patricia Del Castello. Photo credit: Michael Kent Lynberg.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it has received a rare American weather vane from Michael and Patricia Del Castello as a gift. Produced by an unidentified maker between 1909 and 1913, it was probably commissioned for the Poland Spring House, Poland Spring, Maine, where it was installed on its roof in 1914 and remained visible until 1973. The imposing weathervane and distinctive joins the growth of the Met. collection of vernacular American sculpture, and will be on display in Gallery 732 in the American Wing beginning September 29, 2022.

“This weather vane is an extraordinary example of vernacular American sculpture,” said Max Hollein, French director of Marina Kellen of the Met. “The gift marks an important development as the Museum continues to expand the scope of its collection, especially as the American Wing nears its centennial in 2024. We are deeply grateful to Michael and Patricia Del Castello for their generous donation of this unique work of art.”

Primarily used to indicate and measure wind direction, weather vanes represent an American sculptural tradition that dates back to the early 18th century. This weather vane was modeled after the Blériot Model XI monoplane, a small aircraft that French aviator and engineer Louis Blériot (1872-1936) flew across the English Channel on July 25, 1909, marking the first cross-country airplane flight. the English Channel, 25 miles from Calais to Dover. Blériot helped design the aircraft and put it into production, setting records for flight speed, altitude and distance. The plane was popular in races in Europe and the United States. The weathervane depicting the monoplane was likely made in response to races held between French and American aviators at Poland Spring and Portland, Maine, some time after Blériot’s historic 1909 flight across the English Channel.

“The gift of the Blériot Model XI Monoplane Weather Vane is transformative as it adds to the collection one of the most sophisticated examples of American weather vanes ever produced,” said Thayer Tolles, Marica F. Vilcek Curator of Painting and Sculpture. Americans. “The weather vane is distinguished not only by its imposing scale and its complexity of assembly, but also by its reference to a historical event.”

About the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens – businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the time – who wanted to establish a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, The Met exhibits tens of thousands of objects spanning 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The museum lives in two iconic New York locations: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people are also taking part in The Met experience online. Since its founding, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasure trove of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes to life in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and cultures.

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