Letter from the Director: Fall 2018

This letter is reprinted from the Fall 2018 issue of the Members’ Magazine.

detail of Deser, which includes ornate scaled arches


As you may have heard, we are in discussions with The Metropolitan Museum of Art about the possibility of temporarily moving a selection of works from the permanent collection to the Breuer building on Madison and 75th Street during the planned enhancement and renovation of our facilities, slated to begin sometime in 2020. This would enable us to continue to present artworks during our expected period of closure, as well as offering members, scholars, students, and visitors continued access to the resources of the Frick Art Reference Library and our innovative education programs. While this temporary move depends on receiving public approval for our proposed building project, we are excited by the many possibilities it would afford. I look forward to sharing more with you as details are finalized.

As we continue to plan for the future of the Frick, we present three wonderful exhibitions this fall. Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome is the Frick’s third show to focus on a major figure of the decorative arts, following Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court (2012) and Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court (2016–17). Like the objects made by Neuber and Gouthière, Valadier’s works were prized throughout Europe. The exhibition and the groundbreaking catalogue that accompanies it together offer the definitive study of an artist who deserves more attention, and his spectacular table centerpiece displayed in the Oval Room should not be missed.

Since its opening in 2011, the Portico Gallery, with its brilliant natural light, has provided the perfect setting for installations of ceramics: the Arnhold Collection of Meissen porcelain, Henry Clay Frick’s treasured Sèvres pieces, and Melinda and Paul Sullivan’s whimsical Du Paquier. We now present a spectacular group of faience from the collection of Trustee Sidney R. Knafel, which traces the history of this type of tin-glazed earthenware across France from Marseille to Lyon to Rouen during the sixteenth through eighteenth century.

Currently on view in the Cabinet Gallery is The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan Van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos, which looks closely at two masterpieces of early Netherlandish painting and the patronage of the Carthusian monk who commissioned them. The show, curated by Emma Capron, is the latest organized by an Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow, doctoral candidates who spend two years at the Frick researching an exhibition while completing their dissertations. Another Poulet Fellow, Alexander Noelle, writes in the Curatorial Blog about Bertoldo di Giovanni’s Shield Bearer, a featured work in the exhibition he is preparing for 2019. The Frick boasts one of the world’s great collections of Renaissance bronzes and has presented distinguished monographs on several masters of the medium, including Riccio and Antico. Next year’s Bertoldo show will likewise be an in-depth examination of this pivotal artist, who trained with Donatello and mentored Michelangelo.

I hope that you will make time to see these shows and that you will return to the galleries again and again to further explore the subjects that interest you most. 

Installation view of Luigi Valadier’s Deser for Jacques-Laure Le Tonnelier, Bailli de Breteuil (detail), ca. 1778. Gilt bronze, enamel, colored marbles, amber, lapis lazuli, amethyst, garnets, ivory, and agate. Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real, Madrid and Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

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