Patti Smith Sings for a ‘New York Gem’

Over a century ago, J.P. Morgan built a majestic library for his opulent mansion in Midtown Manhattan. After his death, his son, the financier Jack Morgan, opened it to the public in 1924, and it eventually became the Morgan Library & Museum. Last night, crowds of art patrons and well-heeled bibliophiles gathered in that grand library to attend the Morgan’s centennial celebration.

Beneath stained glass windows and murals of Dante and Socrates, guests wearing tuxedos sipped martinis while a violinist performed classical covers of pop songs by Keane and Taylor Swift. Servers wended through the crowd, carrying hors d’oeuvres trays of crescent duck and caviar as they passed shelves lined with rare editions of works by Rousseau and Voltaire.

Devotees of the Morgan like the architect Peter Marino, the art dealer Vito Schnabel and the artist Walton Ford were in attendance. Patti Smith and her daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, who would soon perform a song together at the evening’s dinner, pulled away from the cocktail hour to stroll through the exhibit “Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature,” which displays the manuscripts and picture letters of the creator of Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

“Through her ephemera, you can feel Potter looking at her paint brushes,” Patti Smith said. “The Morgan’s collection honors the hand that writes the book. You get a sense of what an artist or writer was thinking as they were creating.You can see the energy lifting off Beethoven’s ink-splotched pages.”

The Morgan Library & Museum’s director, Colin B. Bailey, slices into a cake made to look like a stack of books.
The soprano Latonia Moore.
The media and automotive heiress Katharine Rayner.

Related Articles

Back to top button