Collecting Spanish Art

Painting of King Philip IV of Spain

The Frick Collection's Center for the History of Collecting was established in 2007. Its program includes a series of international symposia and it has begun to publish their proceedings. In November 2012, with the assistance of the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica and the Center for Spain in America, we launched Collecting Spanish Art: Spain's Golden Age and America's Gilded Age, edited by Inge Reist and José Luis Colomer. It contains revised presentations from the 21-22 November 2008 symposium, including ones by The Frick Collection Senior Curator, Susan Grace Galassi, on Henry Clay Frick, and by Ellen Prokop, Associate Photoarchivist in the Frick Art Reference Library, on Isabella Stewart Gardner's Spanish Cloister.

The book focuses on the period 1870-1930, when Spanish art generated great excitement in the USA: some of America's greatest collectors, such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry Clay Frick, Charles Deering, Archer Huntington, William Randolph Hearst, and Algur Hurtle Meadows, turned to the art of Spain to expand their art collections. The authors examine why and how this happened, analyzing the formation of the taste for Spanish art which grew out of travel and visits to world fairs, such as the Centennial International Exhibition, Philadelphia (1876) and the Columbian World Fair in Chicago (1893). They also investigate the role of contemporary artists, such as John Singer Sargent, critics such as Charles Henry Caffin (1854-1918), dealers, and advisors, who were influential in bringing Spanish works of art into the USA.

Diego Velázquez (Spanish, 1599–1660), King Philip IV of Spain, 1644. Oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 39 1/8 in (129.9 x 99.4 cm). The Frick Collection, New York. The painting was acquired by Henry Clay Frick from Knoedler in 1911.

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