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Fall Focus on Spanish Art through Two Frick Presentations
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), Peasant Carrying a Woman (Album F. 72), 1814–20, brush and sepia ink and wash on paper, 8 1/16 x 5 5/8 inches, Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York.
NEW YORK, NY.- The greatest Spanish draftsmen from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century—Ribera, Murillo, and Goya, among them—created works of dazzling idiosyncrasy. These diverse drawings, which may be broadly characterized as possessing a specifically “Spanish manner,” will be the subject of an exclusive exhibition at The Frick Collection in the fall of 2010. The presentation will feature more than fifty of the finest Spanish drawings from public and private collections in the Northeast, among them The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Hispanic Society of America, The Morgan Library & Museum, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Opening the show are rare sheets by the early seventeenth-century masters Francisco Pacheco and Vicente Carducho, followed by a number of spectacular red chalk drawings by the celebrated draftsman Jusepe de Ribera.

The exhibition continues with rapid sketches and painting-like wash drawings from the rich oeuvre of the Andalusian master Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, along with lively drawings by Francisco de Herrera the Elder and his son and the Madrid court artist Juan Carreño de Miranda, among others. The second part of the exhibition will present twenty-two sheets by the great draftsman Francisco de Goya, whose drawings are rarely studied in the illuminating context of the Spanish draftsmen who came before him. These works, mostly drawings from his private albums, attest to the continuity between his thematic interests and those of his Spanish forebears, as well as to Goya’s own enormously fertile imagination.

The King at War: Velázquez's Portrait of Philip IV
Painted at the height of Velázquez’s career, the Frick’s King Philip IV of Spain (1644) is one of the artist’s consummate achievements. Contemporary chronicles as well as bills and invoices in Spanish archives indicate that it was painted in a makeshift studio only a few miles from the frontlines of a battle, and that it was completed in just three sittings. The work, which shows its subject dressed in military costume, an atypical depiction, was sent to Madrid where it was used during a victory celebration. Displayed in a church under a rich canopy embroidered in gold, the painting embodied the contemporary idea of monarchy as the divinely sanctioned form of government.

In conjunction with a focus on Spanish art this fall, the Frick offers a dossier presentation on the portrait, which returned this winter from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having been cleaned for the first time in over sixty years. The gleaming silver brocade covering the king’s crimson cassock is executed in a shockingly free and spontaneous manner, which is almost unparalleled in the painter’s production and can now be better appreciated. The treatment by Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation, revealed the dazzling original surface that had been veiled by a yellowing varnish. Additionally, the first technical studies of the painting were undertaken, involving microscopy, X-radiography, and infrared reflectography. Coordinated by Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow Pablo Pérez d’Ors, the Frick’s presentation will place the restored masterpiece in the context of original research and findings resulting from its recent cleaning and examination. It will also shed new light on the function of the painting and the implications of presenting the king as a soldier, while addressing connections between the portrait and other paintings by the artist and his workshop. A thrilling mixture of Spanish Baroque art, politics, war, and religion will come alive at the Frick through examination of this masterpiece. The exhibition is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Frick Collection | Ribera | Murillo | Goya |




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