Letter from the Director: Summer 2019

This letter is reprinted from the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the Members’ Magazine.

photo of white sculpture in front of painting of young woman standing in blue dress


I am delighted to announce that The Frick Collection has created a named position in honor of Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen, two great collectors and patrons of the arts. This gift was directed from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation to the Frick by Marina Kellen French, a dedicated supporter of the museum and library, in memory of her parents. Stephen M. Kellen was the long-time president and CEO of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Inc., an international investment firm re-established in New York in 1937 by his father-in-law, Hans Arnhold, and today known as First Eagle Investment Management. Mr. Kellen established the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation in New York City in 1983. The Hans Arnhold family villa on the Wannsee in Berlin, where Stephen and Anna-Maria met, is now the American Academy in Berlin, for which the Foundation gave the founding grant in 1994. I first met the Kellens in 2002 during my tenure at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I am proud that my new title acknowledges the many contributions of this distinguished couple and their descendants, whose philanthropic activities over the years have done so much to promote art and culture in New York City and beyond. Going forward, my title (and that of future Frick directors) will be the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director.

This summer, the Frick presents works by a contemporary artist in dialogue with its renowned Old Master paintings. For the next five months, nine site-specific sculptures by Edmund de Waal are on view in the galleries, alongside familiar objects from the permanent collection. I have long admired Edmund’s body of work, particularly his installations created in response to the history of collections and grand homes similar to the Frick, including Chatsworth House and Waddesdon Manor. It is thrilling to present his first such installation in the United States here at One East 70th Street.

We offer three additional exhibitions this summer, including Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto, which sheds new light on a series of ceiling frescoes tragically destroyed during World War II. Inspired by the Frick’s oil sketch by Tiepolo, Perseus and Andromeda, the show asks us to consider the terrible impact of violence on works of art and culture, while also telling the story of the Italian master’s first major commission outside his native Venice.

Henry Clay Frick collected more works by James McNeill Whistler than by any other artist. In The Cabinet Gallery through August are fifteen prints and one pastel by the American expatriate that celebrate the recent promised gift from the Gertrude Kosovsky Collection. The gift includes some forty etchings and lithographs made over four decades and will nearly triple the number of works on paper in the permanent collection by Whistler, one of the world’s great printmakers.

I hope you will find time to visit our galleries often this summer.

Edmund de Waal (b. 1964), that pause of space, 2019. Porcelain, gold, alabaster, aluminum, and plexiglass, 22 13/16 × 29 15/16 × 11 in. © Edmund de Waal. The work is on view in the North Hall in dialogue with Ingres’s Comtesse d’Haussonville (1845), as part of the exhibition Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at The Frick Collection (May 30 to November 17, 2019). Courtesy the artist and The Frick Collection. Photo: Christopher Burke

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