Reading List: Frick Madison

To celebrate the opening of The Frick Collection’s temporary new home at Frick Madison, we have selected past articles from our Members’ Magazine that highlight the timeless works of art now on display in a bold new context. The works discussed will be on view in Marcel Breuer’s iconic building at 945 Madison Avenue for the next two years, during the renovation of our historic buildings on East 70th Street. Through these staff-written articles, learn about objects you plan to see during your visit to Frick Madison, or explore works that are of interest to you from the comfort of wherever you call home.

Past magazine issues can be browsed online in their entirety through a partnership between the Frick Art Reference Library and the Internet Archive. The Members’ Magazine, published three times yearly, is a benefit of Frick membership—join today to receive future issues plus unlimited free admission to Frick Madison.

  1. “Beautiful Surroundings: The Frames of The Frick Collection” by Joseph Godla, Conservator (Winter 2010)
     

    Reframe your experience of the Frick’s masterpieces by learning about the fashion of frames during the Gilded Age, when Henry Clay Frick was acquiring art—as well as some of the original frames in the permanent collection, the oldest dating to the late fourteenth century. A close examination of carvings and styles demonstrates that frames have a history as rich as the paintings they support.

Installation view at Frick Madison of Jean Barbet (French, d. 1514), Angel, 1475. Bronze, h. 44 1/2 in. (113 cm). The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Joe Coscia, 2021
  1. “A Cannon Maker and His Angel: A Technical Study” by Julia Day, Conservator (Fall 2012)

    Second Floor, Room 1

    Fly away to the heavens with this examination of a bronze winged angel by the French cannon founder Jean (Jehan) Barbet. Take a peek behind its flawless exterior and find out how its creation relates to cannon making in the second half of the fifteenth century. Bronzes of this size rarely survived since they were often melted down for armaments, making the Frick’s Angel all the more precious.

  2. “Aristocrats in Arcadia: Van Dyck’s Sir John Suckling by Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator (Winter/Spring 2020)

    Second Floor, Room 5

    Get acquainted not only with this dramatic painting by the Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck but also with its subject Sir John Suckling, an English playwright and poet who had a reputation as a gambler, squanderer, and philanderer. In his Arcadian portrait, Suckling wears a lush theatrical costume and pages through a large volume of Shakespeare’s First Folio in front of a rugged landscape fit for personal reflection.

The Anthony van Dyck gallery at Frick Madison, with a view of Sir John Suckling (ca. 1638), at right, and Frans Snyders (ca. 1620) and Margareta de Vos (ca. 1620), at left. The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Joe Coscia, 2021
  1. “‘The Thirty-First Vermeer’: The Rediscovery of Girl Interrupted at Her Music by Esmée Quodbach, Former Assistant Director, Center for the History of Collecting (Spring/Summer 2013)

    Second Floor, Room 6

    Delve into the provenance of the intimate interior scene of ca. 1658–59 by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Little known to American audiences when the canvas was purchased, Vermeer soon became beloved for his enigmatic compositions. Here, a seated woman gazes out at the viewer while holding a piece of paper, and a man leans over her. A cittern and a porcelain jug sit on a table nearby. The exact relationship of the subjects is unknown, but speculation abounds. Read about the discovery and history of the painting before it was purchased by Henry Clay Frick in 1901, his first of three acquisitions by the Delft master.

  1. “Chinese Porcelain Figures from the Kangxi Period” by David Pullins, Former Assistant Curator (Fall 2008)

    Third Floor, Room 10

    Learn more about this pair of delicate porcelain sculptures from the Kangxi Period. Their original construction was a combination of molded and handmade elements. Religious symbols decorate their pedestals, while secular ideals of beauty inform the female figures above. These unique sculptures—now on view at Frick Madison in a room dedicated to the medium—were rare in the porcelain trade of the first half of the eighteenth century.

Installation view detail of a porcelain gallery with many black, green, and white porcelain objects on shelves, with two ornately decorated porcelain figures of women on stands featured.
Detail of the porcelain gallery at Frick Madison, with a view of Two Figures of Ladies on Stands (Chinese, Kangxi Period, 18th century). The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Joe Coscia, 2021
  1. “Du Paquier Porcelain from Vienna: The Generous Gift of Melinda and Paul Sullivan” by Ian Wardropper, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director (Fall 2016)

    Third Floor, Room 10

    Travel to eighteenth-century Vienna by learning about the gift to The Frick Collection of fourteen porcelain pieces created in the manufactory established by Claudius Innocentius du Paquier, an agent at the Austrian imperial court. The works include a tureen, tulip vase, and wine dispenser, ornate in both decoration and form.

  1. “The King at War: Velázquez’s Portrait of Philip IV of Spain” by Ellen Prokop, Former Digital Art History Lead (Spring/Summer 2008)

    Third Floor, Room 15

    Consider royal portraiture from both the artist’s and sitter’s perspective through an examination of Diego Velázquez’s portrait of King Philip IV of Spain. The artist throughout his career, as “Painter to the King,” produced several likenesses of the monarch. In 1644, to commemorate a military victory, he depicted the king in uniform carrying a baton and cavalier hat, representing what he would have worn to review his troops and his high military rank. The king’s elaborate costume, rendered in quick, bravado brushwork, is further emphasized by his placement against a sparse background.

Gallery view of an oil painting in a gilt frame of King Philip IV of Spain dressed in a silver and rose costume and holding a black felt hat and ivory-colored baton. A woman stands in front of the painting, her back to the viewer.
Installation view at Frick Madison of 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. Photo: Joe Coscia, 2021
  1. “The Frick Collection Acquires Clodion’s Dance of Time by Anne L. Poulet, Former Director of The Frick Collection (Fall 2006)

    Fourth Floor, Room 17

    Take some time to read about a work that is half terracotta sculpture by Claude Michel (called Clodion) and half pendulum clock by Jean-Baptiste Lepaute. Three nymphs swirl around its base with arms stretched upward, supporting an intricate clock encased in a glass globe. This creative collaboration from the second half of the eighteenth century is not to be missed—and you can hear it chime through the galleries on the fourth floor of Frick Madison.

  1. “Candelabra by Pierre Gouthière Acquired: The Generous Gift of Trustee Sidney R. Knafel” by Charlotte Vignon, Former Curator of Decorative Arts (Spring/Summer 2016)

    Fourth Floor, Room 19

    Illuminate your knowledge of French decorative arts through this discussion of porcelain, marble, and gilt-bronze candelabra from the eighteenth century by royal chaser-gilder Pierre Gouthière and architect François-Joseph Bélanger. Gouthière was renowned for transforming everyday objects into exquisite works of art. The candelabra at The Frick Collection are comprised of porcelain vases decorated with gilt-bronze goat heads and hooves, fruit, and leaves. At Frick Madison, you can view these objects alongside another collaboration between Gouthière and Bélanger, an exceptional marble and gilt-bronze side table.

  2. “Constable’s White Horse: From the English Countryside to the Upper East Side” by Aimee Ng, Curator (Winter/Spring 2020)

    Fourth Floor, Room 20

    Find a moment of tranquil harmony within this painting of everyday life on the River Stour by the British artist John Constable. See how the task of moving a horse across the river takes center stage in this six-foot-long work of art. Aspects of Constable’s preparatory work reveal a dedicated creative process, translating this composition from sketches to a large-scale painting.

Installation view of a clock encased in a glass globe held aloft by three terracotta female figures. The clock sits between two marble sculptures of a man, at left, and a woman, at right, both with elaborate hairstyles.
Installation view at Frick Madison of Clodion’s Dance of Time: Three Nymphs Supporting a Clock (1788), flanked by Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Marquis de Miromesnil (1777), at left, and Madame His (1775), at right. The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Joe Coscia, 2021
  1. “Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Julia, Lady Peel by Susan Grace Galassi, Former Senior Curator (Winter 2008)

    Fourth Floor, Room 21

    Spend a few minutes playing dress-up with Lady Peel, who is depicted in a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, then the president of the Royal Academy and regarded by many as the greatest British portraitist of his time. Peel is decked out in a feathered hat and satin pelisse and gown and adorned with rings and gem-encrusted bracelets. Learn how this work was influenced by a painting by Peter Paul Rubens in the personal collection of its sitter’s husband, Robert Peel, who served twice as Prime Minister.

  2. “Degas’s Rehearsal by Caitlin Davis, Former Assistant to the Director and Coordinator of the Young Fellows (Fall 2008)

    Fourth Floor, Room 26

    Immerse yourself in French Impressionism with a close look at this painting by Edgar Degas. Dancers were a favorite subject of the artist, and he created more than six hundred images of them over several decades. The Frick’s canvas focuses on the preparation for a performance in a rehearsal room, showing three dancers with outstretched legs accompanied by a violin player. The emerging medium of photography and the personal experience of the artist influenced the composition of the work.

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