Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored
October 24, 2017 through March 11, 2018
This fall, The Frick Collection will present Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored, a focused exhibition on two recently conserved and rarely seen paintings by the celebrated artist Paolo Veronese (1528–1588), Saint Jerome in the Wilderness and Saint Peter Visiting Saint Agatha in Prison. While the paintings are known to scholars, their remote location in a church in Murano, an island in the lagoon of Venice, has made them difficult to study. Saint Jerome in the Wilderness has been exhibited outside the church only once—in 1939, in the Paolo Veronese exhibition at Ca’ Giustinian, in Venice—while Saint Peter Visiting Saint Agatha in Prison has not left since being installed there in the early nineteenth century. The exhibition, on view October 24, 2017, through March 11, 2018, will provide a unique opportunity for an international audience to discover these two masterpieces in the Frick’s unique setting. Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored is organized by the Frick’s Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon, an eminent Veronese scholar (who wrote the accompanying catalogue), and Venetian Heritage. The exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support of BVLGARI. The accompanying catalogue is underwritten by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.
Commissioned in 1566 by Venetian priest Francesco Degli Arbori, the Veronese canvases were intended to decorate a small chapel the priest had built just outside the church and convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in Murano. Degli Arbori placed the Saint Jerome over the altar of the chapel, and Saint Peter over the chapel’s main door. To protect the two canvases from the humidity of the chapel and reduce the risk of theft, the nuns of Santa Maria degli Angeli moved them inside the main church in 1667. By the early nineteenth century, the two paintings had been transported to San Pietro Martire, another church on the island.
Over the last year, the paintings have been fully restored by Venetian Heritage, thanks to the sponsorship of Bulgari, and their conservation was accompanied by thorough research on their history. This fall, the canvases will leave Italy for the first time, to be shown in the Frick’s Oval Room, which will be transformed into a chapel-like space in order to recreate the feeling of Francesco Degli Arbori’s chapel in Murano. The paintings date from the same time as the Frick’s two allegorical paintings by Veronese, The Choice between Virtue and Vice and Wisdom and Strength. When hung in the Oval room, the religious works will create a fascinating dialogue with the contemporary allegories displayed in the adjacent West Gallery.
Murillo: The Self-Portraits
November 1, 2017 through February 4, 2018
One of the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Golden Age, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo worked primarily in Seville, where he was born in December 1617, until his death in 1682. Well known for his religious paintings and his extraordinary depictions of street urchins, he was also an ingenious painter of portraits. This genre remains, however, the least studied aspect of his work. Inspired by the self-portraits in their holdings, New York’s Frick Collection and London’s National Gallery are presenting a 2017–18 show that will mark the 400th anniversary of this great artist’s birth. Murillo: The Self-Portraits will open at the Frick from November1, 2017, through February 4, 2018 before moving on to the London institution for a showing from February 28 through May 21, 2018. The exhibition is jointly organized by the Frick’s Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon and Letizia Treves, Curator of Later Italian, Spanish, and French 17th-Century Paintings, National Gallery.
In 1682, an inventory of the possessions of Gaspar Murillo, the painter’s son, lists the following: “Item. Another canvas of the portrait of Don Bartholome Murillo with its legend below and its frame completely gilded at three hundred reales. Item. Another portrait canvas of said Don Bartholome Murillo made by his own hand of a bar and a third with its frame of gilded adornments and half a cane bid on at three-hundred and seventy and five reales.” These two self-portraits are the only known images of the painter by his own hand. The first one, recently acquired by The Frick Collection, was painted about 1650–55, while the second, now in The National Gallery, London, is from about 1670. The two portraits have not been seen together since at least the early eighteenth century.
To provide context to these canvases, the exhibition will also feature a group of fifteen other works on loan from international private and public collections. These will include paintings of other sitters by Murillo, as well as later reproductions of the two paintings that reflect their fame in Europe. A catalogue published by the Frick in association with Yale University Press will investigate the history of the two paintings and their prestigious provenances in France and England. Principal funding for the New York exhibition is provided by an anonymous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden. Additional support is generously provided by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, Marianna and Juan Sabater, the families of George and Michael Eberstadt in memory of Vera and Walter Eberstadt, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Horvitz, Aso O. Tavitian, and the Spain Tourism Board, Consulate General of Spain in New York. The accompanying catalogue is underwritten by Colnaghi.
Zurbarán ’s “Jacob and His Twelve Sons”: Paintings from Auckland Castle
January 31, 2018, through April 22, 2018
In conjunction with The Meadows Museum, Dallas, and the Auckland Castle Trust, County Durham, England, The Frick Collection is organizing an exhibition of Jacob and His Twelve Sons, an ambitious series of thirteen life-size paintings that depict the Old Testament figures. On loan from Auckland Castle, the seventeenth-century works by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664) have never traveled outside Europe. They will be on view first in Dallas from September 17, 2017, through January 7, 2018, after which they will be shown in New York at The Frick Collection from January 31 through April 22, 2018. In preparation for this unprecedented U.S. tour, these important Spanish paintings have undergone an in-depth technical analysis at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. The project includes art historical and technical research, and a publication. This international collaboration will offer the most extensive study related to Zurbarán’s series. For its New York showing in 2018, the exhibition is organized by The Frick Collection’s Senior Curator, Susan Grace Galassi, and is generously supported, in part, by the David Berg Foundation and an anonymous gift in memory of Charles Ryskamp. Additional support is provided by Ayesha Bulchandani, the Danny and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, and the Spain Tourism Board, Consulate General of Spain in New York.
The iconography of Zurbarán’s remarkable series—which was painted between 1640 and 1644—is derived from Genesis, Chapter 49. On his deathbed, Jacob called together his twelve sons, who would become the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel, which, essentially, represents the beginning of the Jewish faith. He bestowed on each a blessing, which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. Jacob’s prophesies provide the basis for the manner in which the figures are represented in Zurbarán’s series. The story also has significance to Christians and Muslims.
The monumental series is believed to have originally been destined for the New World, where, in the seventeenth century, it was commonly believed that indigenous inhabitants of the Americas were descended from the dispersal of the so-called “lost tribes of Israel.” The works were purchased at auction in 1756 by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham, from the collection of a Jewish merchant named Benjamin Mendez. Trevor redesigned Auckland Castle’s Long Dining Room to house the series which constitutes one of the most significant public groupings of Zurbarán’s work outside Spain. The upcoming restoration of Auckland Castle involves the temporary de-installation of the series from the room where it has hung for more than 250 years, presenting this extraordinary study and exhibition opportunity.
Canova’s George Washington
May 23, 2018, through September 23, 2018
In 1816, the North Carolina State House in Raleigh commissioned a full-length statue of George Washington to stand in the hall of the State Senate. Thomas Jefferson, believing that no American sculptor was up to the task, recommended Antonio Canova (1757–1822), then one of Europe’s most celebrated artists. The first and only work Canova created for America, the statue depicted the nation’s first president in ancient Roman garb, per Jefferson’s urging, drafting his farewell address to the states. It was unveiled to great acclaim in 1821, and people traveled from far and wide to see it. Tragically, only a decade later, a fire swept through the State House, reducing the statue to just a few charred fragments.
Canova’s George Washington examines the history of the artist’s lost masterpiece, probably the least well known of his public monuments. It brings together for the first time Canova’s full-sized preparatory plaster model (which has never left Italy), four preparatory sketches for the sculpture, and related engravings and drawings. The exhibition also includes Thomas Lawrence’s 1816 oil portrait of Canova, which, like the model and several sketches, will be on loan from the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy, the birthplace of the artist. The exhibition is organized by Xavier F. Salomon, The Frick Collection’s Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, in collaboration with Mario Guderzo, Director of the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova, the Venice International Foundation, and Friends of Venice Italy Inc. Following its presentation at the Frick, the exhibition will be shown in Italy at the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno in the fall of 2018.
The accompanying catalogue will include correspondence relating to the commission, as well as essays by Salomon, Guderzo, and Guido Beltramini, Director of the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy. The New York exhibition is made possible, in part, by Dr. and Mrs. James S. Reibel; Luciano and Giancarla Berti; Carlo Orsi, Trinity Fine Art; and Mr. and Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott. The accompanying catalogue is underwritten by Fabrizio Moretti.
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