Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection
This winter and spring the Frick will present Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, a distinguished private collection of thirty-three statuettes, sculptures, and a relief. These works represent more than twenty years of avid engagement on the part of Janine and J. Tomilson Hill, collectors who are better known for their interest in post-war painting. The bronzes, which have never before been shown to the public as a group, span the early sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, from the inception of the genre in Renaissance Italy to its conclusion as a European wide phenomenon during the late Baroque period. Many of the statuettes were created by renowned sculptors such as Andrea Riccio, Giambologna, and Adriaen de Vries, while others were made by lesser-known Northern artists such as Caspar Gras and Hans Reichle, whose talents have only recently begun to be appreciated. At the Frick, the Hills’ statuettes will be shown in an installation that differs from earlier bronze exhibitions, such as the acclaimed monographic presentations on Antico (2012), Riccio (2008), and Willem van Tetrode (2003) as well as the Fitzwilliam (2005) and Quentin Collections (2004–5). In keeping with the residential character of the museum founded by Henry Clay Frick, where bronzes inhabit galleries along with paintings of different schools and eras, the Hills’ sculptures will be shown with selected Old Master and modern paintings as well as a contemporary sculpture in displays that reflect the couple’s diverse holdings and collecting sensibilities.
Central to the exhibition, however, is the remarkable group of bronzes assembled thoughtfully and very personally over time by Janine and Tom Hill. Frick Curator Denise Allen characterizes these works as follows, “Strength, quality, and diversity mark these holdings. Masters of the Italian, French, German, and Dutch schools are represented here. The subject matter varies as well, with depictions of pagan gods interspersed with those of Christ, and images of secular rulers. A feeling of energy dominates the Hill collection. The emotional intensity of the bronze figures unites them creating a vibrant whole that transcends the sum of its diverse parts.” Allen adds, “It has been nearly one hundred years since Henry Clay Frick acquired his collection of Italian Renaissance bronzes. We are thrilled to show both very different collections under one roof, each to be considered with respect to the individual tastes of the collectors who acquired them.” Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection is organized for the Frick by its Curator Denise Allen, who was responsible for the Frick’s participation in all of the bronze exhibitions mentioned above.