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Frick Museum offers a fresh look at masterpieces from its world-class collection

Frick Art & Historical Center in U.S. Pittsburgh opened the first exhibition in eight years focused on masterpieces from its permanent exposition. 'The Frick Collects: From Rubens to Monet' tells us a story how an industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick formed the basis of his collection, and how his daughter Helen continued his father’s work.
Frick Museum offers a fresh look at masterpieces from its world-class collection
The exhibition is composed of 42 paintings, 26 decorative arts pieces, nine pieces of furniture, six works on paper, and three examples of sculpture. Exhibits are placed by acquisition date and illustrate the history of the unique family.
The exhibition starts with the first art acquisitions made by Henry Clay Frick when he was a bachelo





The exhibition starts with the first art acquisitions made by Henry Clay Frick when he was a bachelor. Before his marriage (and for the first months after his marriage) the entrepreneur lived in downtown Pittsburgh at the fashionable Monongahela House.

To furnish his rooms, he bought paintings and decorative objects: an elaborate rococo revival clock and candelabra set purchased through Tiffany’s, an ebonized cabinet, and a landscape by local artist George Hetzel.






To the left: George Hetzel Landscape with River (1880)

  • Francesco Melzi. Madonna and Child in a Jasmine Bower, 16th Century. Frick Art Museum
  • Carle Van Loo. The Arts in Supplication (Les Arts Suppliants), 1764. Frick Art Museum
Frick had met his future wife, Adelaide Howard Childs (1859−1931) in February 1881. She was the sixt

Frick had met his future wife, Adelaide Howard Childs (1859−1931) in February 1881. She was the sixth daughter of the wealthy Pittsburgh manufacturer and importer of shoes and boots. When they moved into Clayton, Henry Clay Frick and his wife furnished it as many young couples do—most of the stuff were new, fashionable and of the period. For young couples during America’s Gilded Age like the Fricks, art collecting was not simply a way to demonstrate their taste and create a suitable environment. The right objects skillfully gathered gave their owners a sense of history and pedigree. Collecting was a personal addiction and an indicator of status, discernment and good taste.



To the left: Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé. (ca.1610) Frick Art Museum

Fashion for American collecting at that period also coincided with the establishment of the first museums in the country. Among them were the Wadsworth Athenaeum of Hartford, in 1842, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1870, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1872, and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute in 1896. As time went, forming collections and bequeathing them to public galleries became one way to put wealth and the accumulation of a collection to public service.
  • Sir Joshua Reynolds. Portrait of Lady Margaret Beaumont, 1780. Clayton
  • Jan Steen. The Music Lesson, 17th Century. Frick Art Museum
Present Frick Museum Director Robin Nicholson comments, "Regular visitors to the Frick are familiar with the spectacular Rubens portrait that is regularly on view at The Frick Art Museum and likely know the dazzling Monet that typically hangs in the sitting room at Clayton. The Frick Collects features these iconic works and other extraordinary paintings and decorative arts from the collection, as well as more recent acquisitions, such as Meissonier’s 1806, Jena. By bringing these works together in our exhibition galleries, we are putting the spotlight on our own world-class collection, and taking the opportunity to tell more of our own stories—both about individual objects and about the Frick as a whole."
Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier. Ian
Ian
1890, 108.6×145.4 cm
Frick loved to collect portraits of rich people of the past, still lifes, and, of course, work on eternal religious theme (the niche he covered with masterpieces of Italians). More on this ambiguous man read here.
It was Helen Clay Frick who continued her father’s collection and decided to restore Clayton as a ho




It was Helen Clay Frick who continued her father’s collection and decided to restore Clayton as a house museum. The Frick Art Museum, which was opened to the public in 1970, was built primarily for the collection she gathered, rather than the one she inherited. Helen even had the family cars and carriages brought back to Pittsburgh from the family’s Massachusetts summer estate, carefully preserved.

The main halls of the Frick Art Museum, which last year celebrated its 45 anniversary, devoted to Helen’s collection—early Italian Renaissance paintings and eighteenth-century French fine and decorative art. Since heiress’s death in 1984, the collection has continued to develop through generous donations and valuable acquisitions that match the tastes of the founders.




To the left: Theobald Chartran. Portrait of Helen Clay Frick, 1905. Clayton

'The Frick Collects: From Rubens to Monet' is on view from October 29, 2016 to May 14, 2017 at The Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Written by Vlad Maslow on materials by Frick Art & Historical Center official cite and artdaily.org