The Irving bequest, the largest financial gift to the Met in recent history, will establish an unrestricted art acquisitions endowment fund, as well as several endowment funds for the department of Asian Art. These funds will support acquisitions, exhibitions and publications of the arts of China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Himalayas, with a preference for Chinese decorative arts and Indian and Southeast Asian art, the Irvings’ collecting fields.
An endowment will also support the Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries for South and Southeast Asian Art, named by the Irvings in 1994. In 2004, the museum designated the Florence and Herbert Irving Asian Wing.
The Irvings on Thursday also extended their largess to Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian, giving $600 million to the two institutions to advance their research and clinical programs for cancer treatment.
In an interview in his office, Daniel H. Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive, said the museum was turning a corner. “We’ve made really good progress,” he said, adding that the museum had stabilized over the last nine months and that “the community is in a much better place.”
Mr. Weiss said that the Met has committed to increasing transparency; to providing more detailed information to the board to ensure better financial oversight; and to improving communication between the administration and the staff.
Over the past year, the Met has been able to increase revenue and reduce costs, Mr. Weiss said. Its once money-losing retail operations, for example, are now breaking even.
The museum has cut back its…