The three sculptures in this room introduce a floor dedicated to French and British art. Eighteenth-century French sculptors brought working in clay and marble to new heights. Henry Clay Frick’s personal preference for portraiture extended to sculpture, which resulted in the acquisition of a number of outstanding busts.
The Frick’s most significant holdings of seventeenth- to nineteenth-century sculpture are by French artists. Works by Houdon and Clodion stand out as supreme accomplishments of French eighteenth-century art. Houdon’s technical ability is apparent in the virtuoso marble carving of his busts. The portraits of a judge and of the wife of a financier frame an extraordinary clock. Held by figures modeled in terracotta, and retaining its original glass globe, Clodion’s clock was made just one year before the outbreak of the French Revolution, which would seal the end of an age and its spirit, as encapsulated by this and many other works on this floor.