Spanish-Themed Fall Features a Keenly Anticipated Examination of Velázquez’s portrait of Philip IV

close up of painting of monarch wearing intricate red garb and white lace collar


Since its acquisition by Henry Clay Frick in February 1911, Velázquez’s portrait of Philip IV of Spain has been a centerpiece of the collection and the standard by which other portraits by this artist are measured.  Although the work has always been rightly admired for its good condition, layers of protective varnish discolored over the years,diminishing the splendid surface effects.  In the summer of 2009 the portrait was sent for treatment to Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in charge of paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, at which time the first technical studies of the work were also undertaken.  In the ensuing months, The Frick Collection engaged infresh research on the history of this iconic painting, and this fall a dossier exhibition organized by Pablo Pérez d’Ors, the museum’s former Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, will present findings resulting from both areas of inquiry.  Visitors can experience the portrait in terms of its recent treatment and examination, while learning more about the circumstances under which it was painted and displayed and, above all, consider the reasons for the artist’s unusual decision to depict the king as a soldier.  The King at War: Velázquez’s Portrait of Philip IV opens on October 26 and runs through January 23, 2011.  This exclusive presentation is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is accompanied by public programs as well as a scholarly article in The Burlington Magazine, a special offprint of which will be available atthe Museum Shop.  Also on view this fall at the Frick is a major exhibition on the broad tradition of draftsmanship on the Iberian Peninsula, The Spanish Manner: Drawings from Ribera to Goya.  
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