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Exhibition of masterpieces from The Frick Collection opens today at Holland's Mauritshuis
The Frick Collection – Art Treasures from New York is the first major exhibition to be displayed in the new wing of the Mauritshuis following the opening exhibition of the museum in 2014. Photo: © Ivo Hoekstra, Mauritshuis, Den Haag.

THE HAGUE.- Thirty-six masterpieces belonging to the Frick Collection went on display at Mauritshuis museum in The Hague on Thursday, the first time the famous collection has been shown outside its New York home.

Joining Mauritshuis, home to Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" among others, are artworks from the collection donated by wealthy American industrialist Henry Clay Frick.

It includes the exhibition's centrepiece, the 1845 "Portrait of the Comtesse d'Haussonville" by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

"It's the first time that the Frick Collection has lent 36 works of art, such a big group of works, (to be displayed) elsewhere," Mauritshuis director Emilie Gordenker told AFP.

"It's our first exhibition of fine art in this space, that we have designed especially to feel a little bit like the Frick Collection," she added.

Also included are paintings by Jan van Eyck, Jacob van Ruisdael, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as no less than eight drawings by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and others.

"We selected a group of works, paintings but also some sculptures, drawings, bronze sculptures, other sculptures and even a clock to give you a sense of the variety of works in the Frick Collection," Gordenker said.

The Mauritshuis is displaying the Frick Collection artworks randomly against a pastel wallpaper background of light browns, pinks and purples which gives it a feeling of "an art lover's living room," its organisers said.

"What I particularly like is that they decided to represent the Frick the way we show ourselves in our house in New York, which is everything mixed together," said Ian Wardropper, the Frick Collection's director.

"We don't show things by school or by chronology. We show paintings and decorative arts and sculptures in a very personal kind of mix," he told AFP.

Situated just off New York's famous Central Park, the private Frick Collection was turned into a museum after Frick's death in 1919.

Pieces collected by Frick himself are never lent out, but the Frick Collection continued to acquire art after Frick's death, including the artworks currently on display at the Mauritshuis.

"The Mauritshuis lend us an extraordinary group of pictures a year ago, which proved to be the most popular exhibition that we had in our history," said Wardropper.

"We felt that we should make an extraordinary exchange and we are sending for the first time ever an exhibition from the Frick Collection," he said.

Housed in a 17th century mansion in the heart of The Hague, Mauritshuis is also home to Carel Fabritius' "The Goldfinch" and other paintings that drew record crowds while on display in New York.

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

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