From Sèvres to Fifth Avenue: French Porcelain at The Frick Collection

Two Sèvres porcelain vases

When Henry Clay Frick set out to furnish his new residence at 1 East 70th Street, his intention was to replicate the grand houses of the greatest European collectors, who surrounded their Old Master paintings with exquisite furniture and decorative objects. With the assistance of the art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen, Frick quickly assembled an impressive collection of decorative arts, including vases, potpourris, jugs, and basins made at Sèvres, the preeminent eighteenth-century French porcelain manufactory. Many of these objects are featured in the upcoming exhibition From Sèvres to Fifth Avenue, which presents a new perspective on the collection by exploring the role Sèvres porcelain played in eighteenth-century France, as well as during the American Gilded Age. While some of these striking objects are regularly displayed in the grand context of the Fragonard and Boucher Rooms, others have come out of a long period of storage for this presentation. These finely painted examples will be seen together in a new light in the Portico Gallery. From Sèvres to Fifth Avenue is organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection, and is made possible by Sidney R. Knafel and Londa Weisman. Through the year-long show, a number of complementary public programs will be offered, including lectures, gallery talks, and a free summer evening in July. While there is no devoted exhibition catalogue, the presentation coincides with the May publication of the Frick’s first handbook of decorative arts in its collection. Authored by Curator Charlotte Vignon and lavishly illustrated, it includes most of the porcelain featured in the exhibition.

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