- Portrait of a Mameluke, Said to Be Roustam Raza (ca. 1781–1845), by Horace Vernet, Partial and Promised Gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, 2014
- Bashi-Bazouk, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Partial and Promised Gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, 2014
- Woman at a Balcony, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Partial and Promised Gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, 2014
Among his friends and in society circles, Lane was a known collector — of objects, sculptures, antiques, books — but his greatest obsession was those paintings, which he hung in a home filled with velvet ottomans, leopard-print upholstery and exotic finds, like “some Bedouin sheikh transplanted to Manhattan,” wrote Vanity Fair. The interiors perfectly exuded a certain sense of opulence. Not unlike Lane’s jewels. Or, well, Lane himself.
Twenty-six pieces from Lane’s private collection are now on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Lane has been a longtime patron, dating back to the Seventies and Eighties when he worked with Diana Vreeland to design jewelry for The Costume Institute. For the past decade, he has periodically lent works to the museum itself, earning him his own eponymous room — the exhibit celebrates this 10th anniversary of Gallery 804 on the second floor, A.K.A. the Kenneth Jay Lane Gallery.
Lavish, colorful and eclectic, the exhibition is uniquely Lane. The various works, by European artists of the 19th Century, feature costumed warriors and opium smokers, harems and bustling souks — and, above all, the jeweler’s fascination with the cultures of the vast region from Morocco to Egypt and Turkey. Even the installation style — double hung in two rows, much like in Lane’s Park Avenue apartment with its 26-foot-high ceilings — has his original flair. “They hung them in a way they never have hung pictures at The Met,” he told Tory Daily this summer.
Orientalist Paintings from the Collection of Kenneth Jay Lane runs through September 24th.