The Frick Collection
Peter Paul Rubens, The Holy Women at the Sepulchre Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Birth of Saint John the Baptist Francisco de Zurbarán, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte), The Flight into Egypt Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino, Aldrovandi Dog
The West Gallery of The Frick Collection
Special Exhibition

Jacopo Bassano
The Flight into Egypt
Podcast | Video

Peter Paul Rubens
The Holy Women at the Sepulchre
Podcast | Video

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Guercino
Aldrovandi Dog
Podcast | Video

Francisco de Zurbarán
Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose

Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum
February 10 through May 10, 2009

  Francisco de Zurbar‡n, 1598-1664, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633, oil on canvas, 62.2 x 109.5 cm, The Norton Simon Foundation

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633, oil on canvas, The Norton Simon Foundation

Podcast Available Podcast available by Assistant Curator Margaret Iacono.

Like Henry Clay Frick, Norton Winfred Simon (1907–1993) was a successful entrepreneur who collected art with a passion. Also like Frick, his hard-earned fortune enabled him to buy the best works of art available on the market. When Simon opened his museum in Pasadena, in 1975, he urged his staff to emulate the Frick’s manner of installation, noting that in the Frick a work of art found its ideal setting. It is appropriate, then, that The Frick Collection will exhibit five Old Master paintings from the highly acclaimed Norton Simon Museum. The pictures, on view exclusively at the Frick, will hang in the Oval Room for three months as the first in a series of loan exchanges between the two institutions. Since the Norton Simon Museum rarely lends works from its collection, this presentation provides a unique opportunity to display and publish paintings of the greatest quality and significance that have been omitted from recent exhibitions devoted to the celebrated artists who created them. The installation continues the Frick’s tradition of presenting important works from American institutions that are less accessible to the New York public.

The five pictures — which were selected by Colin B. Bailey, Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection — include brilliant examples by Italian, Flemish, and Spanish masters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Every picture is a tour de force, attesting to the excellence of the Norton Simon collection. And while none of these artists is represented in the Frick’s permanent collection, each work is consistent with the temporal and aesthetic criteria established by Henry Clay Frick.

Norton Winfred Simon’s enormous wealth derived from numerous business ventures ranging from the creation of a sheet-metal distribution company to the triumphant revival of Hunt Foods to the eventual formation of Norton Simon Inc., a conglomerate that included Hunt-Wesson Foods, McCall’s Publishing, Max Factor cosmetics, and Avis Car Rental. Simon’s interests turned to art in the 1950s, and, in the same strategic manner employed to forge his business empire, he amassed an art collection of great renown. His first acquisitions were Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Degas, Renoir, Gauguin, and Cézanne. In the 1960s, he began acquiring Old Masters and modern works, choosing to sell many of his acclaimed French Impressionist paintings at the decade’s close. In the 1970s, Simon’s new appreciation for Indian and Southeast Asian art was reflected in his burgeoning collection.

Unlike Frick, whose collection was a personal one that he later decided to bequeath to the public, Simon’s collection — from its inception — was shaped with the public in mind. So concerned was Simon with the public’s assessment of the artworks he acquired that he sought the opinion of scholars, dealers, and even members of his household staff. His desire to make important works of art available to Southern California’s community led him to assume a seminal role in the establishment of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Additionally, Simon created two foundations, each responsible for acquiring and exhibiting his art collection as part of his mission to engender a “museum without walls.” Chief among The Norton Simon Foundation’s acquisitions was the 1964 purchase of the remainder of Duveen Brothers’ New York inventory, a significant cache that included Old Master paintings, Italian marbles, furniture, tapestries, its library, and even the New York City townhouse in which it all was housed. Having assumed management of the financially troubled Pasadena Museum of Modern Art in the early 1970s, Simon reached an agreement with the museum’s trustees to combine Pasadena’s collection with his own, forming the Norton Simon Museum of Art. The new museum opened in 1975 and today consists of a collection of Western and Asian art spanning more than two thousand years and including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photography.

The Frick Collection is grateful to the Norton Simon Museum for allowing these masterpieces to leave their West Coast home temporarily so that they can be shared with our visitors.

Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It contains a comprehensive essay on Norton Simon’s collection by Sara Campbell, Senior Curator at the Norton Simon Museum, as well as detailed entries by Margaret Iacono on the five paintings on loan to the Frick.

Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum is organized by Colin B. Bailey, Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection, and Carol Togneri, Chief Curator of the Norton Simon Museum, with the assistance of Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator of The Frick Collection.

Principal funding for the exhibition is provided by Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Colin B. Bailey. Major corporate support is provided by Fiduciary Trust Company International. Additional support is generously provided by the Thaw Charitable Trust, Mr. and Mrs. John P. Birkelund, and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.