Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection has been named Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for his contribution to the artistic heritage of Italy, his native country. In a private ceremony at the museum in late May, the honor was bestowed by the President of the Republic of Italy, and Salomon was invested by Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States. The Ordine della Stella d’Italia was established in 2011, to reward individuals who have collaborated and solidified friendly relationships and cooperation between Italy and foreign countries. This award was reformed from the Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana, established after World War II to recognize individuals who were contributing to the reconstruction of Italy.
Salomon, an internationally renowned scholar of Paolo Veronese, was appointed by The Frick Collection in January 2014 as the museum’s Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator. In addition to overseeing the Frick’s curatorial activities, he has organized several exhibitions focusing on Italian and Spanish art. Salomon is the curator of the Frick’s current acclaimed exhibition Canova’s George Washington, which explores the creation of Antonio Canova’s lost statue of George Washington, the only work he created for America. The exhibition features the artist’s full-size preparatory plaster model, executed in 1818, as well as other objects connected to its creation. Following its presentation at the Frick, the show will travel to the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy, in the fall of 2018. The catalogue, written by Salomon; Mario Guderzo, Director of the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova; and Guido Beltramini, Director of the Palladio Museum, is a major addition to the current body of knowledge on Canova’s work, as well as on the classical revivalist sculpture of the early nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic. Salomon is also co-curating (with Professor Alvar González-Palacios) the Frick’s upcoming exhibition Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome, opening in the fall of 2018. This show is the next in an ongoing series of monographic exhibitions presented by the Frick that focus on remarkable decorative arts artists. Accompanying the exhibition will be the first complete publication on the Roman silversmith. A related presentation of this exhibition will be shown in 2019 at the Galleria Borghese, Rome.
Other notable exhibitions at the Frick organized by Salomon include Murillo: The Self Portraits (2017), Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored (2017), Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene: An Italian Baroque Masterpiece from the Norton Simon Museum (2016), and El Greco at The Frick Collection (2014). In addition to contributing to and authoring several exhibition catalogues, Salomon has written on the museum’s rich holdings, including the recently published Holbein’s Sir Thomas More. Co-authored with the celebrated novelist Hilary Mantel, author of the best-selling Wolf Hall, Salomon and Mantel’s is the inaugural book of Frick Diptychs, a series of small-format books that focus on a single work from the museum’s permanent collection. Each book pairs an in-depth essay by a Frick curator with a contribution from a contemporary cultural figure.
Salomon has also been published in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal, Apollo, The Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, The Medal, The Art Newspaper, and the Journal of the History of Collections. Additionally, he oversees the museum’s acquisitions program, and, under his purview, the Frick has added several objects to complement the collection, including its newest acquisition, a vase by the Italian silversmith Luigi Valadier, which will be included in this fall’s upcoming exhibition on the artist. He sits on the Consultative Committee and is a trustee of The Burlington Magazine and Save Venice, and is a member of the International Scientific Committee of Storia dell'Arte and Arte Veneta. He is an alumnus of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (2015).
In 2015, Salomon helped launch the Frick’s groundbreaking collaboration with the Ghetto Film School, a Bronx-based independent film organization that brings high school students from New York City into the museum for onsite instruction across two creative disciplines, the fine arts and the cinematic arts. The program culminates with the creation of a student-produced short film inspired by the Frick and filmed on location at the museum. The partnership was recently featured in an episode NYC-Arts on THIRTEEN, and in an episode of the documentary series Treasures of New York, which focused on The Frick Collection. This program is now heading into its fourth year.
Born in Rome and raised in Italy and the United Kingdom, Salomon received his Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art for his research on the patronage of Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini. He began his professional career at the Frick in 2004, where he spent two years as the museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow. From 2011 to 2014 he was Curator in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and, prior to that, the Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. During his tenure at Dulwich, he co-organized, with Colin B. Bailey (then the Frick’s Chief Curator) Masterpieces of European Painting from Dulwich Picture Gallery, which was presented by the Frick in 2010. As a Veronese scholar, he has organized several exhibitions on the artist, including the Frick’s acclaimed dossier show Veronese’s Allegories: Virtue, Love, and Exploration in Renaissance Venice (2006) and the monographic exhibition on the artist at the National Gallery, London (2014).
Comments Frick Director Ian Wardropper “We are thrilled that Xavier’s contributions have been recognized by the Italian government and he has been honored with the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia. His achievements at the Frick are many and include a number of remarkable exhibitions focusing on Italian artists. These exhibitions were the result of rigorous scholarship and created opportunities for engaging public programming and wonderful collaborations with Italian institutions.”
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