'Law & Order' Creator Dick Wolf Donates 200 Artworks to Met Museum


Dick Wolf, the creator of “Law and Order,” has pledged to donate more than 200 works — including paintings, sculptures and drawings — to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Renaissance and Baroque art collections. He will also donate a significant sum of money, the Met announced Wednesday, adding that it would endow two galleries named after him.

Wolf has been a low-key collector in the art world, focusing his attention on older works at a time when better-known collectors are investing in modern and contemporary art. Some of the gifts he promised the museum were also recent purchases, including a 15th-century Botticelli painting that sold for 4.6 million dollars in 2012 and a painting by Orazio Gentileschi from the 16th century that sold for 4.4 million dollars in 2022. The Gentileschi can now be seen in the just reopened European painting galleries; Wolf will also donate a piece by the artist's daughter, Artemisia, which sold for 2.1 million dollars that same year.

Dick Wolf said he used to visit the Met as a child on his way home from school. Credit…Chris Haston/NBC, via Getty Images

Max Hollein, director and CEO of the Met, said he and the museum's curators cultivated a relationship with the television producer over the past three years; However, he refrained from giving market advice.

“I never wanted to be too presumptuous,” Hollein said in an interview. “But I think he was already thinking about the Met.”

The collection also includes a 2.8 million dollars Van Gogh painting sold in 2022, “Scheveningen Beach in Calm Weather”, one of his first oil landscapes. The painting was made in 1882, on the beach outside the fishing village of Scheveningen, but the artist later abandoned the image within a box of about 40 works. His family kept the box with a carpenter, who then sold the contents for the equivalent of 50 cents to a scrap metal dealer named Johannes Couvreur.

A museum spokeswoman declined to provide a specific figure for the donation, which will ensure Wolf's name is on two galleries in the department of European sculpture and decorative arts, but said it was in the tens of millions of dollars.

Wolf declined an interview, but said in a statement that his appreciation for art began when he was a child visiting the Met on his way home from school. “It was a simpler time, there was no admission, you could walk in from the street,” he said. “I'm sure most collectors would agree that seeing his art displayed in the world's largest museum is an honor.”

Hollein characterized Wolf's donation as one of the most significant gifts to the museum in recent memory.

“The collection reflects Dick Wolf's excellent knowledge and enduring dedication to the diverse artistic mediums of those eras,” he said. “In addition, the significant financial contribution will provide critical support for the Met's collection exhibits and academic activities.”

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