Past Exhibition

Masterpieces of French Faience: Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection
October 10, 2018 to September 22, 2019
plate decorated in blue, gold and white, with two cherubs at center

The exhibition in the Portico Gallery presented a promised gift to The Frick Collection: 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” derives 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, including Italian maiolica, Asian porcelain, and contemporary engravings. The forms of its platters, bowls, plates, and ewers derive mostly from European ceramics and silver. These influences come together in works of great originality.

The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue published in hardcover and softcover editions by The Frick Collection, in association with D Giles Ltd.

Major support for the exhibition was provided by Melinda and Paul Sullivan and The Selz Foundation. Additional funding was 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.

Plate, Rouen, ca. 1725. Faience (tin-glazed earthenware), d. 9 5/6 in. Sidney R. Knafel Collection; photo Michael Bodycomb

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