Saturday, March 12, 2005

The welcoming neighbor at 1 East 70th

We finally visited the Frick Collection today, a modestly-sized (by New York standards) art museum housed in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick, a Pittsburgh-area industrialist who rose to fame and wealth in the Gilded Age coal and steel business alongside Carnegie. The house, just off Central Park, is massive and sprawling in a manner not usually associated with the city, but it's a great place to experience art as if you too were a member of the rich aristocracy, arrayed as it is amid the domestic accoutrements of the Frick's house. Because of this presentation, it reminded me of the Barnes Foundation in (for the moment, at least) Merion, Pa., although the Barnes crams more works into about the same space, whereas the Frick presents the paintings and sculptures with a more spaced-out approach.

My favorite works were this Whistler, this Vermeer (why does it seem like all the famous Vermeers were painted in the same room with the same window on the left?) and this Bellini. I also appreciated that it wasn't as crowded as the Met is usually and the personal audio guides were free with admission.

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