Exhibit Information

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address 1000 Fifth Avenue @82nd Street
New York, NY 10028

Click here for quick directions
Phone Number 212-535-7710

Website http://www.metmuseum.org/


Opening: 9 FEBRUARY 2011 - Closing: 4 JULY 2011

GUITAR HEROES: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York

James D’Aquisto-Oval Hole New Yorker Special
Three New York Master-Luthiers—renowned for their hand-carved stringed-instruments, particularly their Archtop-Guitars—now have the Spotlight at the Met-Museum.

But they have to share a bit of the light with Antonio Stradivari & Pasquali Amati, who were among the First-Masters of Stringed-Instruments

Detail of headstock
Beginning at the beginning, this handsome show moves on to feature the extraordinary Guitars of John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto, & John Monteleone, all New York Master-Craftsmen.

This Unprecedented-Exhibition of approximately 80 Musical-Instruments will focus on the Creations of these Modern-Day-Masters & their Roots in a long tradition of Stringed-Instrument-Making that has thrived for more than 400 years. It was first brought to New York, from Italy, around the turn of the 20th-century.

Solo model
The work of Italian Luthiers—or Makers of Stringed-Instruments—has been in demand since the 16th-century, when Lute-Makers in cities such as Venice & Violin-Makers in places like Cremona supplied instruments for many of the most important Artists in Europe.

Advance model archtop guitar
In subsequent centuries, Craftsmen such as the famed Antonio Stradivari continued this tradition. Stradivari is best-known for his Violins, but he also built a great variety of stringed-instruments, including both Mandolins & Guitars—one of which is now on-view at the Met.

By the end of the 18th-century, Naples had become the dominant-center for stringed-instrument-production on the Italian-Peninsula, with Craftsmen there introducing innovations to both the Mandolin & the Guitar.

Blue Centura Deluxe model archtop guitar
Later—in the decades around the turn of the 20th-century—many skilled Luthiers from Southern-Italy moved to New York, as part of the Mass-Immigration of the time.

These Craftsmen set up Workshops throughout the Region, building Traditional-Style Violins, Guitars, &—most-importantly—Mandolins, which experienced a Tremendous-Popularity in America from the 1890s to the 1920s.

Grand Artist Tri Port model archtop guitar
A change in Musical-Tastes by the late 1920s meant that many Italian-American Luthiers were suddenly forced out of business.

John Monteleone Deco Vox archtop guitar
But the young John D’Angelico was among a small group who were able to survive by building Archtop-Guitars, an instrument that combined elements of Violin-Construction [carved top, f-holes] with the Guitar—based on the models being produced at the time by the Gibson-Guitar-Company.

The Archtop-Guitar was especially popular with Jazz-Musicians—in the days before the Electric-Guitar.

John D’Angelico Mel Bay New Yorker model archtop guitar
D’Angelico quickly built a reputation for his high-quality, beautifully-constructed Archtop-Guitars. The tradition was carried forward by his apprentice, James D’Aquisto, & it continues today. with the work of the famed mandolin & guitar-maker John Monteleone.

James D’Aquisto Electric Centura model
Instruments by these Makers have been used by some of the most-influential Guitar-Players of the 20th-century through the present day, including Chet Atkins, Les Paul, George Benson, Paul Simon, Steve Miller, Mark Knopfler, Jim Hall, & Grant Green, among others.

Guitar-Heroes features more than 50 works by these men, many of which have been owned by some of these Guitar-Greats.

Musician Steve Miller with his D’Aquisto double cutaway Electric Centura model guitar
The instruments are shown against the backdrop of the Met-Museum’s extensive-collection, which includes Masterpieces of Italian & Italian-American Construction, highlighting the place of the modern-day-masters in this long tradition.

They look great, but they are all in Glass-Cases, so you won’t have a chance to play one…
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