Marie-Laure Buku Pongo Appointed Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts; Giulio Dalvit Appointed Assistant Curator of Sculpture

Headshots, woman left, man right

New York – (December 3, 2020) The Frick Collection announces that it is filling two curatorial posts. Marie-Laure Buku Pongo has been appointed Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, overseeing the museum’s substantial holdings in furniture, ceramics, textiles, enamels, clocks, and other objects. This endowed position was created in 2007 with the support of a generous challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Giulio Dalvit will become Assistant Curator of Sculpture, focusing on the museum’s sculpture and medals collections. They will begin in these capacities in 2021. Comments Ian Wardropper, the Frick’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, “We are delighted to welcome Marie-Laure and Giulio to our curatorial department in positions vital to the ongoing care, interpretation, and display of our fine and decorative arts collections. Both are formidable emerging scholars with remarkable backgrounds and perspectives that will benefit our work for years to come.”

About Marie-Laure Buku Pongo

Buku Pongo most recently worked at the Palace of Versailles, where she assisted Bertrand Rondot, Chief Curator of Decorative Arts, and Hélène Delalex, Curator of Decorative Arts, to prepare the upcoming exhibition Versailles and the World for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. In 2017, with Rondot and Danielle Kisluk-Grosheide of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she assisted in the preparation of the critically acclaimed touring exhibition Visitors to Versailles: Travelers, Princes, Ambassadors (1682–1789). As Senior Assistant and Acting Head of Service in the Mission Ameublement at the Mobilier National, she collaborated with Valérie Glomet, Head of Service, and undertook a number of projects requiring an in-depth knowledge of eighteenth-century through contemporary French furniture and tapestries. She advised and managed the furnishing of the Élysée Palace (the official residence of the President of France), including the offices of President Macron and the First Lady, as well as the official residences of the French President, offices of the Prime Minister, offices of several Secretaries of State, the French Senate, the French Parliament, and French embassies around the world. Buku Pongo has advised on diplomatic gifts and assisted in the display and care of Versailles’ permanent collection, particularly the living quarters of Marie-Antoinette and the daughters of Louis XV. She is currently a member of the committee for the upcoming exhibition D’Artagnan and the French Musketeers in the Château de Vincennes.

Buku Pongo is completing her Ph.D. in Modern History and Art History at Sorbonne Université, with a dissertation titled “Diplomatic Gifts Offered by Louis XV: Works of Art and International Relations.” She holds several Masters and undergraduate degrees in art history, modern history, and law from Sorbonne Université, École du Louvre, and Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas.

Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator comments, “For more than a decade, the Frick has placed increasing focus on decorative arts scholarship, exhibitions, and acquisitions. We are thrilled that the Frick’s tradition of acclaimed decorative arts catalogues and exhibitions established by Charlotte Vignon—the Frick’s first Curator of Decorative Arts, who left us nearly a year ago to assume the directorship of the Musée National de Céramique in Sèvres, France—will be continued and expanded by Marie-Laure’s voice and extensive knowledge. Her experience interpreting and shaping displays of decorative arts at Versailles, the Mobilier National, and various official residences of the French President will translate to our better understanding of works essential to the Frick experience, from furniture to ceramics.”

About Giulio Dalvit

Dalvit is a specialist in fifteenth-century Italian art. He brings to the Frick an expertise in Italian bronze sculpture, as well as paintings from the Renaissance through the present. This past year Dalvit collaborated with the curatorial team led by Salomon to organize the installation for Frick Madison, the institution’s temporary new home during the renovation of its historic buildings at 1 East 70th Street. His input on the project informed the display of sculpture and medals within the broader context of the permanent collection. He also contributed content to the museum’s new audio guide for the Bloomberg app, which launched in June and will be the guide visitors use onsite at Frick Madison.

Dalvit has held various lecture and research positions, most recently as an Associate Lecturer at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Additionally, he has been a guest researcher at the University of Amsterdam and a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at University College in London. During an earlier tenure at the Frick in 2016, in a position funded by Trustee Ayesha Bulchandani, he contributed to research for the exhibitions Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto (2019), Canova’s George Washington (2018), and Murillo: The Self-Portraits (2017/18). In addition, Dalvit was a research assistant at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan.

Dalvit received his Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute, London, with a dissertation titled “Rethinking Lorenzo di Pietro, known as Vecchietta (Siena, 1410–80)”, research supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom and the Garfield Weston Foundation. He earned his B.A. in Humanities from the Università degli Studi, Milan, and his M.A. in History of Art, also from the Courtauld. Vecchietta, in addition to being the subject of Dalvit’s dissertation, has been the focus of many of his articles, for which he was awarded a Francis Haskell Memorial Scholarship. Dalvit’s numerous other publications—on topics spanning the fifteenth through the twentieth century, and including the collecting of antiquities—have (or will soon) appear as book or catalogue essays as well as articles and reviews in The Burlington Magazine, the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld InstitutesRenaissance Studies, and Prospettiva, among others. Together with a team of international scholars, he is currently working on a critical edition and English translation of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii.

Salomon comments, “Sculpture as a medium was of deep interest to Henry Clay Frick, who acquired a noted corpus of statuettes and busts by Riccio, Giambologna, Antico, Bertoldo, and others. Our holdings have expanded in complementary fashion, including significant acquisitions by Soldani-Benzi, Clodion, Houdon, and the promised gift in 2016 of about 450 portrait medals from Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher. Likewise, our programming and depth of scholarship in this field have grown in recent years, particularly during the tenure of Curator Denise Allen, who left the Frick six years ago to become a curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We now look forward to Giulio’s fresh perspective, confident that his voracious curiosity and extensive knowledge will be an asset to the institution. We are thrilled to again be able to collaborate with him to create engaging exhibitions, lectures, and publications that will highlight our remarkable sculpture holdings.”

About The Frick Collection, its Renovation Project, and Frick Madison

Housed in one of New York City’s last great Gilded Age mansions, The Frick Collection provides visitors with an unparalleled opportunity for intimate encounters with one of the world’s foremost collections of European fine and decorative arts. The collection originated with Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who bequeathed his home, paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts to the public for their enjoyment. The institution’s holdings, which encompass masterworks from the Renaissance through the early modern period, have grown over the decades, more than doubling in size since the opening of the museum in 1935. Among these complementary acquisitions are many public favorites. A critical component of the institution is the Frick Art Reference Library, founded one hundred years ago by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of the museum’s founder. Recognized as one of the top resources of its kind in the world, it is open to researchers and the public alike.

In the coming year, the Frick breaks ground on a renovation and enhancement project. Honoring the institution’s architectural legacy and unique character, the plan designed by Selldorf Architects will provide unprecedented access to the original 1914 home of Henry Clay Frick, while preserving the intimate visitor experience and beloved galleries for which the Frick is known. Conceived to address pressing institutional and programmatic needs, the plan will create critical new spaces for permanent collection display and special exhibitions, conservation, education, and public programs, while upgrading visitor amenities and overall accessibility throughout the Frick’s historic buildings.

During construction, the museum and library collections will remain accessible to the public, as the institution will relocate five blocks away to 945 Madison Avenue, the Marcel Breuer–designed building that was the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art and most recently The Met Breuer. For the first time, audiences will be able to enjoy a substantial gathering of highlights from the collection outside the domestic setting of the Frick’s Gilded Age mansion. In a departure from the Frick’s customary presentation style, works will be organized at Frick Madison chronologically and by region.


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