Photo Essay: John D. Rockefeller, Jr & The Met Cloisters

The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Cloisters museum is located at the northern tip of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River and surrounded by Fort Tryon Park. It was opened five years after Fort Tryon Park opened in 1935 as a New York City public park.

The Cloisters is not a replica of an existing building, but a compilation of elements from several European cloisters. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the land for Fort Tryon Park, the museum, the museum’s building, and its core collection. Rockefeller purchased many of the original architectural elements, as well as some of the collection items, from artist and collector George Grey Barnard, whose gallery was located on Fort Washington Avenue & 190th Street. Though opposites in style and temperament, the two men’s shared appreciation of medieval art was the impetus for The Cloisters. It was Rockefeller, however, who truly guided and shaped the designs for the museum we know today.

rockefeller archive center PHOTO ESSAY