On view for the first time in the United States, the celebrated full-length portrait of Madame de Pompadour by the French artist François-Hubert Drouais (1727–75) was presented at New York's Frick Collection. Regarded as one of the greatest and most popular treasures at the National Gallery in London, the portrait was the last one painted of the Marquise de Pompadour, the influential mistress of French King Louis XV. Part of a critically acclaimed series of single-loan exhibitions (following the display of a landscape by Claude Monet last summer), this presentation featured several complementary paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699–1779), Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805), and Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766) from the Frick's own holdings. Decorative artworks on view in conjunction with the portrait included furniture and porcelain of noted French manufacture.
Further, the presentation of the Drouais portrait had as a backdrop, in a loose sense, other French masterpieces of the period installed in galleries throughout the mansion, such as panels by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) and François Boucher (1703–70). Indeed, with such celebrated works in its holdings, many in connection with her life and interests, The Frick Collection has long felt the presence of Madame de Pompadour. Through the single-loan presentation and two free lectures presented in winter 1999, the Frick offered its visitors a glimpse of her legacy and role as a patron of the arts. Edgar Munhall, Curator of The Frick Collection, organized this presentation and authored a color-illustrated educational brochure.