Need a culture fix? Art lovers should consider planning a visit soon to the elegant Frick Collection in New York City to catch the Anthony van Dyck exhibit: “The Anatomy of Portraiture”, before it closes on June 5th. With over 100 sketches and paintings, it’s the most comprehensive exhibit ever on his activity as a portraitist, and the first major exhibit in the U.S. on the Flemish artist’s work in over 20 years.
Van Dyck, a favorite of the movers and shakers of the 17th century, convincingly evoked a sense of the inner life of his subjects–from Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio to Queen Henrietta Maria and her dwarf. In the portrait of his young wife Mary, Lady van Dyck plays with her bracelet while gazing out with a Mona Lisa’esque smile and inquisitive eyes that draw you near to her. In a visit last month, my family particularly enjoyed studying the handful of sketches and unfinished paintings displayed near van Dyck’s finished works, which allow visitors to gain insight into his process.
Save time to explore the other exceptional works of Western art and the tranquil garden court in this intimate, gem of a museum, housed in the former mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Ranging from the Renaissance through the late nineteenth century, the collection includes works by such notable artists as Bellini, Fragonard, Goya, Holbein, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Vermeer, and Whistler. The museum also houses fine Limoges enamels, French furniture, Oriental rugs, Italian bronzes, and other major works of sculpture.
Make a point to seek out my favorite paintings from the permanent collection: Hans Holbein the Younger’s gorgeous, vivid portraits of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More. Cromwell investigated More for treason, which resulted in More’s beheading. Yet here they hang where Frick originally placed them, flanking a stone fireplace in the museum’s Living Hall, and facing-off for over 100 years and counting.
Don’t let the $20 admission charge put you off. We went for free, and you can too, if you have a Montclair Public Library card. Register online here for the marvelous museum pass program.
Other tips for your visit:
-Be sure to pick-up the excellent, complimentary audio guide.
-Please note that children under age 10 are not permitted to enter the museum.
-The Collection has a well-stocked gift shop, but no cafe. Luckily there are dozens of great dining spots nearby, including Alice’s Tea Cup, Via Quadronno, Laduree, the Asia Society’s garden cafe, Le Pain Quotidien, and many more.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-6p, Sunday 11-5p.
Admission: $20 adults, $15 senior citizens, and $10 students over age 10. (Children under age 10 are not allowed in the museum.) “Pay what you wish” Sundays 11-1p.
Address: 1 East 70th and Fifth
Phone: (212) 288-0700