The Frick Presents Rembrandt and His School, Opens Feb 15, 2011
When Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) was asked whose talents he would most like to possess, he declared: "Rembrandt's." And as the largest individual railway stockholder in the world, Frick is reported to have said that "railways are the Rembrandts of investment." Like Frick, the Dutch art historian Frederik Johannes Lugt (1884-1970) was a great admirer and collector of works by the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669); as a teenager he wrote a biography of the artist, illustrated with his own copies after Rembrandt's most famous works. In the spring of 2011 The Frick Collection will present a selection of Rembrandt's works as seen through the eyes of these two renowned collectors, devoting three exhibition spaces (the Oval Room, the Cabinet, and the downstairs exhibition galleries) to the work of Rembrandt and his school. On display in the Oval Room will be five paintings by Rembrandt and his school from the Frick's Permanent Collection-four acquired by Henry Clay Frick between 1899 and 1919 and the fifth by the trustees in 1943 from the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan.
Three of these works are unquestionable masterpieces by the artist-Nicolaes Ruts (1631), The Polish Rider (c. 1655), and the Self-Portrait (1658). Two of the paintings-Portrait of a Young Artist and Old Woman with a Book-were acquired by Frick as Rembrandts but are today attributed to artists in his entourage. This will be the first time that all five paintings have been united in a monographic display. The Cabinet will feature a selection of etchings and drawings by Rembrandt acquired by Henry Clay Frick at the end of his life. These works on paper, part of the founding bequest and therefore unavailable for loan, are rarely on display.
On view in the Frick's downstairs exhibition galleries will be a loan exhibition of 66 works on paper by Rembrandt and his school from the collection of Frits Lugt, now housed in the Fondation Custodia, Paris. The Lugt Collection's extensive holdings of Rembrandt and Rembrandt-school drawings have been catalogued by the leading authority on Rembrandt's drawings, Peter Schatborn, whose two-volume publication, Rembrandt and His Circle: Drawings in the Frits Lugt Collection, is expected to appear later this year. Schatborn's selection of the Lugt Collection's finest works has served as the basis for this presentation, which will feature all eighteen drawings by Rembrandt, including such well-known masterpieces as Woman Leaning on a Window Sill, Interior with Saskia in Bed, The Windmill on the Bulwark, and Shah Jahan.
Among the prints from the Lugt Collection will be a group of Rembrandt self-portraits that record the artist in a variety of costumes, settings, and humors, and create a powerful dialogue with the Frick's painted Self-Portrait. The exhibition is completed by 36 master drawings by Rembrandt's most prominent pupils and students, including Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680), Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), Govaert Flinck (1615-1660), Jan Lievens (1607-1674), and Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693). Several of these drawings were once thought to be by the master himself. Rembrandt and His School: Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings from the Frick and Lugt Collectionsis organized by Colin B. Bailey, the Frick's Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, in conjunction with Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator, and Joanna Sheers, Curatorial Assistant.