For many years, The Frick Collection has offered its visitors the chance to view important Old Master paintings from American institutions outside the New York area. In keeping with this tradition, the Frick presented fourteen extraordinary works from the renowned Cleveland Museum of Art. Ranging in date from the early Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century, the selection included canvases by artists represented in the Frick’s permanent collection alongside paintings by important masters not typically seen at the museum. This exciting opportunity was the result of the temporary closing of The Cleveland Museum, which was undergoing a major renovation and expansion of its site.
Like The Frick Collection, The Cleveland Museum of Art was established with funds bequeathed by wealthy individuals whose fortunes were made during the industrial boom of the Gilded Age. It opened to the public in 1916. Today, the institution is widely recognized as one of the premier encyclopedic art museums in North America. Besides paintings, its diverse permanent collection includes drawings, prints, photography, sculpture, and decorative arts from a wide array of geographic locations, spanning some six thousand years. Masterpieces of European Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art will feature paintings selected to harmonize with the temporal and aesthetic boundaries established by the Frick’s founder, Henry Clay Frick. The show included works by Fra Filippo Lippi (1406–1469), Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), El Greco (1541–1614), Annibale Carracci (c. 1560–1609), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573–1610), Frans Hals (c. 1581–1666), Georges de La Tour (1593–1652), Valentin de Boulogne (1594–1632), Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), Diego de Velázquez (1599–1660), Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), and J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851).
Masterpieces of European Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art was organized by Colin B. Bailey, Chief Curator of The Frick Collection, with the assistance of Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator, in collaboration with The Cleveland Museum of Art. A fully illustrated catalogue, including an essay by Margaret Iacono comparing the collecting histories of the Frick and Cleveland museums was produced for the exhibition.