Following the critical acclaim of the recent small exhibition Velázquez in New York Museums, The Frick Collection offers another focused presentation this spring and summer, El Greco: Themes and Variations, organized by Guest Curator Jonathan Brown, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. In an exhibition of seven paintings on view together for the first time, the Frick’s own holdings, St. Jerome and The Purification of the Temple, will be shown with five other versions by El Greco borrowed from five national and international collections. Together, they present an opportunity to examine El Greco’s artistic evolution over the decades he worked in Italy and Spain. Moreover, these seven paintings call attention to an intriguing aspect of the master’s production – the recycling of compositions over long periods of time during an era when few artists did so – particularly interesting in light of the fact that his painting style was so very inventive. In the accompanying booklet, Brown addresses this intriguing issue, presenting his thoughts on how and why El Greco used theme and variation. Curator Susan Grace Galassi, who is coordinating the exhibition with Brown, contributes an essay on the development of Henry Clay Frick’s interest in Spanish painting at a time when such works were appreciated in America by only a small number of collectors. She also illuminates the fascinating history of Frick’s pursuit at home and abroad of works by El Greco. The presentation is on view exclusively at The Frick Collection from Tuesday, May 15 through July 29, 2001. El Greco: Themes and Variations has been made possible through the generous support of Melvin R. Seiden, Lladró, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the Arthur Ross Foundation, Helen Clay Chace, Iberia Airlines of Spain, Elizabeth de Cuevas, and the Fellows of The Frick Collection.
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