Ten must-see works at the Frick Collection

Good for: Romantics

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-Portrait

    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-Portrait

  • Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

    Diego Rodrguez de Silva y Velzquez, King Philip IV of Spain

    Diego Rodrguez de Silva y Velzquez, King Philip IV of Spain

  • Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

    Pierre Gouthire bronzes; designed by Jean-Franois-Thrse Chalgrin, Blue...

    Pierre Gouthire bronzes; designed by Jean-Franois-Thrse Chalgrin, Blue Marble Side Table with Neoclassical Mounts

  • Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

    Pietro Tacca, Nessus and Deianira

    Pietro Tacca, Nessus and Deianira

  • Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

    Jean-Antoine Houdon, Armand-Thomas Hue, Marquis de Miromesnil

    Jean-Antoine Houdon, Armand-Thomas Hue, Marquis de Miromesnil

Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; courtesy The Frick Collection New York

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-Portrait

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-Portrait


Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Self-Portrait (1658)
Rembrandt was his own favorite subject, but this self-portrait in particular portrays him in a way he hadn't been seen before. He painted it when he was 52, wearing a 16th-century historical costume, looking like "a prince among painters," according to Bailey, in his sash, robe and fur cape, and holding not a painter's stick, but a cane tipped with silver. The irony here is ripe: At the time, Rembrandt had just gone bankrupt and sold all of his possessions. But despite the haunted, world-weary look in his eyes, his posture remains proud. In a letter dated November 23, 1906, Charles Carstairs, the tycoon's art dealer, stated that he imagined it dominating his employer's gallery "just as you dominate all of those that you come into contact with." "I think that clinched the sale!" Bailey says with a laugh.
Where to find it: West Gallery

Diego Rodrguez de Silva y Velzquez, King Philip IV of Spain (1644)
This Velzquez was cleaned at the Met in 2010, so King Philip's silk brocade costume, with its lace-trimmed collar, is that much more apparent. Bailey identifies it as one of the trophies of the Frick collection; it was the collector's most expensive picture when he purchased it in 1911 for $475,000. King Philip commissioned the portrait to commemorate his victory over the French in Catalonia, but the slightly contemplative, sorrowful look on his face was purposeful on his part—he wanted to establish himself as a kind father and forgiving monarch who wished to reintegrate the warring rebels in his kingdom. His facial expression in particular, says Bailey, is what makes this such an unusual military painting.
Where to find it:
West Gallery

Pierre Gouthire bronzes; designed by Jean-Franois-Thrse Chalgrin, Blue Marble Side Table with Neoclassical Mounts (1781)
Pierre Gouthire fashioned the decorative bronzes on this blue marble console table; architect Jean-Franois-Thrse Chalgrin designed the table itself for a grand duchess who was commissioning an entire room of new furniture. Frick adored 18th-century French furniture, particularly bronze-mount tables like this. "The gilt mounts—the beading, the leaves, the details on the feet and the base of the table—are exceptional," says Bailey. "It's this idea of looking back to ancient Greece and Rome for ideas, and then translating them with extraordinary skill in metal."
Where to find it: North Hall

Pietro Tacca, Nessus and Deianira (early 17th century)
View this totally creepy Tacca sculpture in the round—it's set on a table in the West Gallery, so you can see it from the front and back—in order to get a distinctive sense of the movement the artist infused in the work. Nessus, the centaur, has just abducted Hercules' wife, the nymph Deianira. Eventually, her guy will save her, but Tacca captures her just as she's been taken. Nessus' horse body is straining with her weight (the veins on his belly stick out), and Deianira is screaming for help. "This is a highlight of the Baroque period," says Bailey. Frick was quite taken with bronzes like this one, which was part of a collection that J.P. Morgan put together. (Frick purchased a total of 86 Renaissance bronzes in 1916, after Morgan died and his son was forced to sell them.)
Where to find it:
West Gallery

Jean-Antoine Houdon, Armand-Thomas Hue, Marquis de Miromesnil (1777)
Houdon's sculptures are treasures of the Enlightenment, and the Frick has several. Bailey selected the artist's portrait of a magistrate—a high-ranking law official named Armand-Thomas Hue—that was shown in a Paris salon in 1775. The bust is done in marble, but Houdon manipulated his medium so deftly his gown looks like silk, and his wig appears powdery soft. "It gives you the impression of this wily, astute, ambitious figure who was a minister in Louis XVI's government, but who was always on the lookout, always looking at his back," says Bailey. "You get a feeling of that intelligence in his face."
Where to find it:
North Hall

The Frick Collection, 1 E 70th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-288-0700, frick.org). Tue--Sat 10am--6pm, Sun 11am--5pm. $18, seniors $12, students with ID $5, children under 10 not admitted, teenagers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, Sun 11am--1pm pay what you wish.

While you're there...

"I think the best spot of the moment is sitting right in front of that Bellini," says Bailey. But visitors will be seduced by the museum's Garden Court, which is a lovely, tranquil environment that makes you feel as if you're in an English garden.

  1. 1
  2. 2

Users say

0 comments