The Frick Collection presented the first exhibition on Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813), the great French bronze chaser and gilder who worked for Louis XV and Louis XVI. The exhibition shed new light on the artist’s production, life, and workshop through the presentation of twenty-two objects from public and private collections. Attributed with certainty to Gouthière, these works include clocks, vases, firedogs, wall lights, and mounts for Chinese porcelain and hardstone vases. The exhibition was organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection. Based on new art historical and technical research, the exhibition and catalogue promise to transform our understanding of one of the greatest artists of eighteenth-century France.
A vogue for furniture featuring secret compartments and complex mechanical devices swept France during the eighteenth century. Featured in the Cabinet was a mechanical reading and writing table with Sèvres porcelain plaques, attributed to Martin Carlin (c. 1730–85), a German-born cabinetmaker who worked in Paris and created furniture for such notables as Madame Du Barry and the daughters of Louis XV. Normally exhibited in the Fragonard Room in closed position, the table was displayed partially open, and photographs revealed the mechanisms that make possible its moving parts.
The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710–50
The Frick Collection exhibited a selection of Meissen porcelain from the collection of Henry Arnhold. One of the greatest private holdings of early Meissen assembled in the twentieth century, the collection was formed in two phases, the first in Dresden between 1926 and 1935 by Henry’s parents, Lisa (née Mattersdorff; 1890–1972) and Heinrich (1885–1935) Arnhold ; the second, by Henry in New York between 1972 and 2006.
Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop
Although it was not until 2008 that the first piece of maiolica entered The Frick Collection, it was an extraordinary debut: a large dish painted with a narrative scene, oristoriato, inspired by Marcantonio Raimondi's print after The Judgment of Paris by Raphael. This scene is surrounded by colorful grotesques delicately painted on a white ground, a specialty of the renowned workshop of Orazio Fontana in Urbino, to which the best pieces are usually attributed.
Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette
France has long been fascinated by the Ottoman Empire, and for hundreds of years the taste for turquerie was evident in French fashion, literature, theater and opera, painting, architecture, and interior decoration. Turquerie, a term that came into use in the early nineteenth century, referred to essentially anything produced in the West that evoked or imitated Turkish culture.