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. The survey featured works executed in a range of drawing techniques and styles and for a variety of purposes, including preliminary sketches, practice studies, aide-mémoires, designs for other artworks, and finished pictures meant to be appreciated as independent works of art. Among the artists in the Frick's exhibition was Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Peter Paul Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Charles-Joseph Natoire, Thomas Gainsborough, Francisco Goya y Lucientes, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Théodore Géricault, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.
The exhibition was organized by Colin B. Bailey, the Frick's Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, and Stephanie Buck, Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings at The Courtauld Gallery. The show, which was accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, opened first at The Courtauld Gallery and ran from June 14 to September 9, 2012. It traveled to New York in October 2012 and was a highlight of the Frick's fall exhibition program.
Support for the presentation in New York was generously provided by Jean-Marie and Elizabeth Eveillard, The Christian Humann Foundation, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the late Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Neil and Angelica Rudenstine, the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, Diane Allen Nixon, and an anonymous gift in honor of Colin B. Bailey and in memory of Melvin R. Seiden. The exhibition was also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.