To New York!

February 25 2016

Image of To New York!

Picture: Frick/Palazzo Pitti

By the wonders of modern technology, I greet you from somewhere above Greenland. I'm heading to New York to see the Frick Collection's new exhibition on Van Dyck, which I shall be reviewing for the Financial Times. Expect 1100 words from me on Antoon some time next week.

Helpfully, the Frick have given me an advance copy of the catalogue. As The Great Brian said, a reviewer should always read an exhibition catalogue before he or she goes to the exhibition itself. I'm thumbing through it now as we bump our way through the jet stream. There's a strong headwind today, and the flight (from Edinburgh) will take 8 hours, longer than usual. 

I've also read an enjoyable blog post from the Frick's chief curator, Xavier Salomon, about a highlight of the show; Van Dyck's Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio (above), on loan from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. This picture is one of Van Dyck's masterpieces, and prompted the 18th Century English artist Jonathan Richardson to write:

“I never saw anything like it. I look’d upon it two Hours, and came back twenty times to look upon it again …the colouring is true flesh and blood, bright, and transparent.”

Alas, I won't have time to spend two hours in front of the picture, but I can't wait to see it. Apparently it has been cleaned for the exhibition.

All of which reminds me that I've been meaning to mention Neil Jeffares' review of the first reviews of the Liotard exhibition staged recently in London and before that in Edinburgh. By a careful analysis, Neil suspects that some critics might have reviewed the exhibition only from the catalogue, for they lavish praise on pictures that were not actually on display in Edinburgh. 

Update - the excitement is almost uncontainable here in New York, AHNers; I've had a classic New York diner breakfast, and am now waiting to get into the Frick at 2pm. I see that the exhibition is 'the largest the Frick has ever mounted', and all on my artistic hero. Splendid.

And, to my astonishment, I've seen that AHN is actually quoted in the exhibition catalogue! I really must be more careful about what I write... It's in the catalogue entry for a contentious attribution - the Carmelite Monk sold as by Van Dyck at Sotheby's in 2011 - which at the time some (including me) thought was by Rubens. Now it's in the Frick show as a Van Dyck.

Might I have been wrong? Very possibly. I'm looking forward to seeing the picture again with fresh eyes soon... 

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