The Cloisters

The Cloisters

art & design
upper manhattan
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The Cloisters and the surrounding Fort Tryon Park lie at the very northernmost point of the island of Manhattan. Originally a heroic undertaking financed by an endowment from John D. Rockefeller Jr., the Cloisters aimed to bring slices of Medieval Europe to New York City, which proved to be an impressive feat: between 1934 and 1938 five French cloistered abbeys, specifically Saint-Michel-de-CuxaSaint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville were taken apart meticulously, marked for reassembly, and then shipped brick by brick to Fort Tryon Park where they were to be reassembled to hold an impressive collection of some five-thousand pieces of Medieval art curated by George Grey Barnard, purchased by the Rockefellers, and donated to the museum.

The generosity of the Rockefeller family knew no bounds, as evidenced by a swift purchase of miles and miles of acreage directly across the Hudson, deeding them to the state of New Jersey and ensuring that no development could ever take place—forever preserving the view from across the river.

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