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Frick Collection Announces European Painting Exhibition for 2010
Canaletto (1697–1768), Old Walton Bridge, 1754. Oil on canvas, 48.8 x 76.7 cm © The Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Frick Collection announced the loan of nine European paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, one of the major collections of Old Master pictures in the world, particularly of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The exhibition, which heralds the Gallery’s bicentenary in 2011, presents an exciting opportunity to introduce American audiences to this institution’s collection through nine of its greatest paintings. Indeed, this exceptional group of works, to be shown exclusively at the Frick from March 9 through May 30, 2010, includes signature masterpieces that seldom travel, many of which have not been on view in the United States in recent years, and, in some cases, never in New York City. Featured are Rembrandt van Rijn’s Girl at a Window, 1645; Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s Samson and Delilah, c. 1619–20; Thomas Gainsborough’s Linley Sisters, 1771–1772; Sir Peter Lely’s Nymphs by a Fountain, c. 1650; Canaletto’s Old Walton Bridge, 1754; Gerrit Dou’s Woman Playing a Clavichord, c. 1665; Antoine Watteau’s Les Plaisirs du bal, c. 1717; Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s Flower Girl, c. 1665; and Nicolas Poussin’s Nurture of Jupiter, c. 1636–37.

Dulwich’s collection of paintings was assembled chiefly between 1790 and 1795 by the French art dealer Noel Desenfans in partnership with his Swiss associate, Sir Francis Bourgeois. Commissioned in 1790 by King Stanislaus Augustus of Poland to form a Royal Collection for the Polish people, this extraordinary collection was amassed by the dealers in five years. Upon the eventual dissolution of Poland and the king’s abdication in 1795, Desenfans and Bourgeois found themselves with an extensive inventory of significant paintings. Unable to sell the entire collection or to find a suitable institution to which to entrust it, Bourgeois—owner of the collection following Desenfans’s death in 1807—bequeathed it to Dulwich College with the stipulation that it be put on public view. Dulwich Picture Gallery consequently became England’s first public art gallery after Bourgeois’s death in 1811, opening its doors in 1817. Today the paintings reside in a historic building, designed by the renowned architect Sir John Soane in 1811, with a later twentieth-century addition and a more recent one by Rick Mather in 1999.

The exhibition, to be displayed in the Frick’s Oval Room and Garden Court, is co-organized by Colin B. Bailey, Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at the Frick, and Xavier F. Salomon, Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich. Continuing in the Frick’s tradition of presenting masterpieces from acclaimed museums not easily available to the New York public, it will feature works by artists found in the Frick’s permanent collection as well as by those not represented but complementary to it.

The Frick Collection | European Paintings | Dulwich Picture Gallery | Noel Desenfans | Colin B. Bailey | Peter Jay Sharp | Xavier F. Salomon | Arturo Melosi |

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