21 December 2011

The Frick Collection

"Diana the Huntress" Jean-Antoine Houdon (1776-1795)

Sunday morning I headed over to what may be my favourite museum in the city, the Frick Collection. Housed in the former residence of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the museum is small with an amazing collection including the “Comtesse d’Haussonville” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, which I’ve written about before

This month the museum debuted a new gallery that showcases Meissen porcelain and some sculptures. Created by enclosing a portico with panels of glass, the new gallery is a wonderful addition to the museum, giving visitors a view of the garden and Fifth Avenue. Used to viewing art in windowless rooms it was a welcome change to look at pieces in natural light and all the glass made the space feel much larger than it is. Porcelain isn’t particularly my thing but the “Diana the Huntress” sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon, which stands proudly at the end of the gallery, looking out toward the light, is beautiful and lovely to see close up.

“Still Life in Front of a Window at Saint Raphaël” Pablo Picasso (1919) 

While there I also joined the queue for the exhibit “Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition.”  Beginning with examples from when Picasso was a boy, the more than 50 drawings give visitors the opportunity to witness the artist excel at classical drawing and then take off to expand and develop his style. And after seeing past Picasso exhibits that seemed to cram in as many works and those by related artists as possible, it was refreshing to see a small, carefully curated collection of his drawings that you could take in without getting overwhelmed.

I enjoyed the exhibit—I particularly liked the colourful “Still Life in Front of a Window at Saint Raphaël” (1919) and Head and Shoulders of a Woman” (1907)—but I have a horrible confession to make. I’m tired of Picasso exhibits. I do enjoy his work but it seems every time I turn around someone is having a Picasso exhibit (this is the third I’ve written about this year) and I wish everyone would give it a rest for a while and show some other artists. Nothing against Pablo, let’s just spread the wealth so to speak. With that said, I have no doubt that I will probably buy a ticket for the next Picasso exhibit that comes to town.

The Picasso exhibit runs through January 8, 2012. To find out about the exhibit and the Frick visit their website here.

The photo of "Diana the Huntress" by Michael Bodycomb.

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