Exhibitions presented at The Frick Collection during 2012.
Since antiquity, gemstones (also known as hard or semiprecious stones) have been cut and polished for use in jewelry, in the creation of vases and cups, and in the decoration of palaces. Rediscovered and developed in sixteenth-century Florence, pietra dura (hard stone) objects were collected and sometimes used as political propaganda among the Medici. A sign of wealth, taste, and power, they were also offered as diplomatic gifts or acquired by foreign sovereigns.
Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) painted his Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier) in August 1888 during a highly productive fifteen-month stay in Arles in southern France. The opportunity to display this work in New York was the result of a special exchange program between the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, and The Frick Collection and marked the first time in forty years that the painting had left its home institution.
In keeping with its tradition of exhibiting masterworks from collections outside of New York, the Frick presented fifty-eight drawings from The Courtauld Gallery, London. This exhibition marked the first time that so many of the principal drawings in The Courtauld's renowned collection — one of Britain's most important — have been made available for loan. The prized sheets represent a survey of the extraordinary draftsmanship of Italian, Dutch, Flemish, German, Spanish, British, and French artists active between the late Middle Ages and the early twentieth century.
Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes was the first monographic exhibition in the United States dedicated to Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi, known as Antico (c. 1455–1528). As sculptor to the Gonzaga courts at Mantua and in northern Italy, Antico earned his name, "the antique one," for his creation in the classical style of statuettes, reliefs, and busts that are distinguished by their opulence and beauty.
In early 2012, The Frick Collection presented an exhibition of nine iconic Impressionist paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, offering the first comprehensive study of the artist's engagement with the full-length format, which was associated with the official Paris Salon in the decade that saw the emergence of a fully fledged Impressionist aesthetic.
The Frick Collection celebrated the generosity and discerning taste of former Director Charles A. Ryskamp (1928–2010) with an exhibition of works on paper from his bequest. Dr. Ryskamp's generous gift transformed the museum's holdings in drawings, enlarging them by nearly a third, while complementing the permanent collection's focus on the landscape and figural subjects favored by Henry Clay Frick. The works were exhibited for the first time at the Frick in the Cabinet, a space created by Dr. Ryskamp during his tenure as Director from 1987 to 1997 and intended especially for the display of works on paper.