Beginning this fall, an exhibition in the Portico Gallery will present seventy-five objects from the collection of Sidney R. Knafel — the finest collection of French faience in private hands — to tell the fascinating and complex history of this particular art form.
A feat of great technical achievement, French faience was introduced to Lyon in the second half of the sixteenth century by skilled Italian immigrants — the French word “faience” deriving from the northern Italian city of Faenza. Over the next two centuries, production spread throughout the provinces of metropolitan France. The fine decoration of French faience draws inspiration from multiple sources — Italian maiolica, Asian porcelain, and even contemporary engravings. The forms of its platters, bowls, plates, and ewers derive mostly from European ceramics and silver. This complex interplay of influences comes together in works of great originality.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published in hard and softcover editions by The Frick Collection, in association with D Giles Ltd.
Major support for the exhibition is provided by Melinda and Paul Sullivan and The Selz Foundation. Additional funding is generously provided by Helen-Mae† and Seymour R. Askin, Barbara G. Fleischman, Anne K. Groves, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Horvitz, Nancy A. Marks, Peter and Sofia Blanchard, Margot and Jerry Bogert, Jane Condon and Kenneth G. Bartels, Mr. and Mrs. Jean-Marie Eveillard, Barbara and Thomas C. Israel, and Monika McLennan.