The Frick Collection was pleased to announce a promised gift of forty-two works on paper by James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), from the collection of Gertrude Kosovsky. An exhibition highlighting fifteen prints and one pastel from the gift is now on view in the Cabinet Gallery. The collection was formed over five decades by Mrs. Kosovsky, with the support of her husband, Dr. Harry Kosovsky, and includes twenty-seven etchings, fourteen lithographs, and one pastel, which range from Whistler’s early etchings dating from the late 1850s to lithographs of the late 1890s. Most are impressions made during his lifetime, a number of them from his major published sets, while others were produced for periodicals, thus encompassing different aspects of the American expatriate’s prolific activity as a printmaker. Works printed posthumously are also included.
The Kosovsky promised gift comes a little over a century after Henry Clay Frick gave Whistler pride of place in his collection, having purchased more works (including paintings, etchings, and pastels) by the artist than by any other. Since Mr. Frick’s death in 1919, only one work by Whistler has been added to the collection, a lithograph after his portrait of Robert, the Count of Montesquiou. The gift significantly expands the institution’s Whistler holdings. In particular, it nearly triples the Frick’s works on paper by the artist — almost all from his Venice period — and places them in the context of his career as a whole, allowing many more aspects of the master’s virtuoso printmaking to be appreciated.
Whistler as Printmaker: Highlights from the Gertrude Kosovsky Collection was on view through September 1, 2019. It was organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, and Margaret Iacono, Associate Research Curator, and is accompanied by public programs.