Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Frick Collection - New York City

The Rehearsal
H.G. Edgar Degas
c. 1878-79

Officer and Laughing Girl
Johannes Vermeer

The Harbor of Dieppe

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851

Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink: Portrait of Mrs. Frances Leyland. 1871-3
James McNeill Whistler

Hello from New York City!

Last night after a yummy Indian dinner, W.P. and I went walking around the iconic Times Square. Crazy, commercialized American frenzy at its best. I love it once every couple of years, which is how often I've been visiting NYC in recent years.

After purchasing a big memory card for my new camera, I went about snapping silly photos all day. From the cab, walking down 5th and Madison Avenues, from the window of a cafe', along a sidewalk carpeted with people.

W.P. had only a meeting from 9:00 a.m. to noon and we had planned to go to MoMA together. He's never actually had the time to visit there on other business trips and was quite looking forward to it. Neither of us thought to look up the schedule and voila - the sign said Closed on Tuesdays. I then remembered a post by a blogger I don't know very well but whose comments I am always glad to read on other blogs - Grandmere Mimi. A few months back, Mimi posted about a visit she made to the Frick Collection, a smaller art museum in New York - located between Madison and 5th Avenues. After reading Mimi's post, I vowed to check it out the next time I was in NYC. As the MoMA was closed today, I immediately exclaimed - "The Frick!" and off we went.

I haven't yet digested everything I saw there but right off, the Whistlers held me most captive while there and still, now, as I think about the many incredible works of art I saw there. Apparently, Mr. Frick was not overly fond of American artists, so it is fortunate that he admired Whistler and acquired several incredible portraits and landscapes for the collection. Perhaps because Whistler was American-born but lived mostly in England. Other works included those of John Constable, William Turner, Claude Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas and three irresistible paintings of Vermeer.

The museum was rather packed but probably nothing like what MoMA will be like tomorrow. I regret that W.P. will be tied up with work all day tomorrow and Thursday and may not be able to join me until after closing time.

The bright side of this is that I can take my time; savor each artwork I crave; return to those I love most and those I understand least. Like a little kid on the eve of the first day of school - I will have trouble sleeping.


  1. I love the Frick!!

    Enjoy MoMa :)

  2. I also love Whistler. And Vermeer.
    Have a lovely day at MoMA.

  3. i love the last one.

    frick pretty much disliked most everyone. his home is here. the give tours.

    he wasn't a nice man in the least.

    that's a mild assesment.

  4. Oh, awesome, awesome, awesome! I'm glad you remembered the Frick!

    Have fun!

  5. I'd be jealous if I didn't know how much more you appreciate this than I ever could.

    Looks like an amazing place to while away a few days... enjoy!

  6. The Frick! I haven't been in nearly thirty years! Isn't there a whole room designed by an artist - was it Whistler? I can't recall, but I remember it was a peacock theme. Gorgeous.

    And isn't that where Ingres' Comtesse d'Haussonville is hanging? I loved that painting as a young man.

    Enjoy MoMA - It's like Solomon's treasure room - so much more than you can carry away. May you have superhuman powers of concentration and connection!

  7. I'll try not to be jealous. I haven't been to the Frick since college (back in the dark ages)

  8. I once went to DC with my family so my wife could attend a conference, at tax-payer expense, no less! (Actually, the tax-payers only paid for a portion of our gas out to DC. Those were the good old days. Now our tax dollars are reserved for blowing people up, nothing left for the professional development of our nation's teachers.) It was kind of a gift to have time to kill with the kids in DC while Ms. Geranium went to her boring, I mean informative, meetings. Have a good time!

  9. I have not heard of the Frick but it sounds fabulous. Enjoy your stay!

  10. One of the great shames of my life - and I kid you not is this... I have lived near NYC for most of my life and worked in Manhattan for approximately 20 years.

    And no- I have not been to the Frick.

    I hang my head in shame.

    I have been to MoMA but not in years!

  11. I do love the Harbor painting!

    Hope you enjoyed New Yawk..its a trip ain't it?

  12. Have you been to PS1 (ps1.org) and the New Museum (newmuseum.org)? They are my personal favorite museums in NYC.

  13. Hey, everyone. I'm back and all museum-ed out. I spent 6 plus hours in MoMA and loved every minute of it. I thought of Steve's comment as I walked in - I couldn't possibly take in every bit but I chewed off quite a hunk of the place and enjoyed myself tremendously. At $40 per person admission, all I can say is I'm glad that for me, it was worth every cent. The place was packed. I took a ton of photos and as I reviewed them tonight, I recall every one of them. Only two in the batch I don't recall the artist, exactly.

    The Picassos blew me away, which I was not expecting. Sometimes when I see Picasso's stuff in books or online, I think I can take it or leave it. But up-close and personal, it's a whole other matter. The sheer size of some of the portraits alone makes them so much more intense than an image. And his sculptures made from found objects show so much originality and sheer fun...I couldn't stop smiling.

    Thank you all for cheering me on with this visit to NYC. You who have been reading my blog since the start know how much these things mean to me - at a level that's really hard for me to write about and yet somehow you understand how profoundly art touches me.

    Thank you.


    P.S. Sherry: I read a bit about Frick and how he was once one of America's most hated men. What a legacy in art, though.

  14. A friend took me to the Frick a long time ago on a day that nobody but us was there. I loved seeing the VerMeers most of all in the intimacy of the environment.

    When I lived in London my favorite museum was the Tate because that's where all the Turners lived. His watercolors are most extraordinary.

  15. Libhomo: I've never been to those museums but I've just added them to my list to check out the next time I'm in NY. Thanks. :-)

    Susan: Oh, god I love the Tate and the Modern. After my visit to London, all I could think about is what it would be like to live there. How
    lucky for you to have experienced it. When I went there was a huge Kahlo exhibit at the Modern. I think at that time it was the most of her paintings that had ever been exhibited outside of Mexico. There is one currently in SF, which I long to check out but it ends in late September, so we won't be able to make it by then.

    Thanks libhom and Susan for coming by!


  16. #1, what is the painting that is the header of your blog?

    #2, you chose most of my fave paintings to highlight. Officer & Laughing Girl-- I was really enthralled by the map in the background (the detail!). And the LIGHT was amazing! Truly masterful.

    Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink really had me entranced. I couldn't believe this painting that would normally not be my taste (seemingly too pale & bland), had me staring at it for such a long time. Especially when I heard the back story to it.

    Highly recommend you get the audio tour set when you go (free) because there are no written descriptions next to the paintings.

  17. Hi, Can-do. Welcome!

    The painting in my header is called Nymphs and Satyr by William Bouguereau. It's in the permanent collection at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I'm a big fan of Bouguereau.

    I did opt for the audio tour and was glad I did.

    Oh, it was the light streaming in through the window that slayed me, in the Vermeer.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  18. I love those Japanese touches in the Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink and how Whistler signed his name in a little Japanese block. It's all really elegant.


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