Monday, June 24, 2013

The Frick Collection: Handbook of Paintings

I collect few things. I have compact discs from some of the performers who have appeared at our library's concert series. I sometimes buy small bird guides when I travel to other states or countries. Now I am selectively collecting books from the gift shops of art museums I visit. I recently bought guides to both the Frick Collection and the Cloisters on our trip to New York.

The Frick Collection: Handbook of Paintings is a catalog with photographs of every painting in the museum, arranged alphabetically by artists. 131 paintings were left to the museum by its benefactor, industrialist Henry Clay Frick, and 48 were added later by his descendants. He was obviously a very, very rich man of refined tastes, who focused on European paintings from the Renaissance to the 1800s. Collecting at a time before art prices inflated to today's standards, he acquired works from many of the most renowned artists, including Constable, David, Gainsborough, Goya, Monet, Rembrandt, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Vermeer, and Whistler.

Being a 6 X 9 handbook and not an oversize art book, The Frick Collection is not adequate for detailed study of the paintings, but it serves as an attractive reminder and useful reference to the wonderful afternoon we spent at the museum. I have it when I want to verify which Vermeers we saw that day.

Now I look forward to reading about the Cloisters.

The Frick Collection: Handbook of Paintings. Frick Collection, 2012. 168p. ISBN 9780912114095.

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