FROM SÈVRES TO FIFTH AVENUE: FRENCH PORCELAIN AT THE FRICK COLLECTION, The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, near Fifth Avenue, until 24th April 2016
Now a museum, the building was originally built by Henry Clay Frick as a home and in it he wanted to emulate the great houses of the grandest European collectors by combining Old Masters with the best of the decorative arts. He achieved this with the help of the celebrated art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen.
Among the treasures on show is a wonderful group of Sèvres Porcelain which is being celebrated in this special exhibition organized by Charlotte Vignon, the Collection’s Curator of Decorative Arts and made possible by Sidney R. Knafel and Londa Weisman.
The Portico Gallery exhibition examines both the use of Sèvres in the ancien régime and its appeal in America’s Gilded Age and for this items normally on display and others usually in storage have been brought together.
Among the pieces Frick acquired is the wonderful Potpourri Vase “à Vaisseau” and a pair of side vases (Vases “à Oreilles,”) usually in the Fragonard Room. Two years later in 1918 a boudoir was created on the second floor for Mrs Frick (it was later moved to the main floor) and Duveen supplied a garniture of three potpourri vase feuilles de mirte for the mantelpiece and in a cabinet in the room there were pieces with a turquoise blue (bleu céleste) ground colour. Further acquisitions included a pair of Vincennes Vases Duplessis “à Enfants” and a 1767 turquoise ground tea service decorated with birds.
The collection has been added to over the years with gifts from other family members and generous donors. The Vase Japon, for example, was bought by the Trustees to mark the retirement of Anne L. Poulet, the Museum’s Director, in 2011.
To me this is a show which underlines the beauty and enduring appeal of Sèvres Porcelain to successive generations of collectors and admirers.
This image of the cover of The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook, which was published last year, depicts the Potpourri Vase “à Vaisseau” mentioned above. I gather that they are selling out quite quickly so do get in touch with the Museum should you require one.