Created to delight and engage their audiences over countless viewings, bronze statuettes enjoyed immense popularity with rulers and the wealthy educated classes who collected them between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The Frick Collection was pleased to have, as its special fall exhibition, European Bronzes from the Quentin Collection, the first public presentation of a distinguished, little-known private collection devoted to the art of these small- and medium-scale sculptures. Discriminatingly assembled over the last twenty-five years, the almost forty sculptures, primarily in bronze but also in terracotta or precious metal, share an exceptional level of quality, revealing the extraordinary invention and technical refinement characteristic of works made when the tradition of the European statuette was at its height. The Quentin Collection presented some of the best efforts by generations of European master sculptors. Exemplary works by Italian masters Giambologna and Susini were represented, as were those by their equally gifted Northern contemporaries.
The Quentin Collection's emphasis is on the idealized human figure, and the exhibition's gathering of powerful, elegant nudes provided visitors with a focused entry to the pleasures offered by the bronze statuette. At the Frick, the sole venue for this exhibition, most of the sculptures were shown freestanding without vitrines — as in the Collection itself — so that visitors could fully appreciate their delicately modulated, highly detailed surfaces as well as the subtle differences among the bronzes' colored, lacquered patinas.
The exhibition was accompanied by a scholarly catalogue co-authored by Manfred Leithe-Jasper, Director Emeritus, Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and sculpture dealer Patricia Wengraf. It included new research and technical findings, as well as a large number of comparative illustrations.