joy magnetism: YIPA* and the Frick

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

YIPA* and the Frick

Magnet #842 - Windmill in Amsterdam, Monet

Ya'll know I loves me some Monet. Yes, he's the most cliche Impressionist painters to like, but what can I say.

There's nothing that makes me happier than when I discover a Monet I've never seen before - it's awesome. I kinda feel that way whenever I discover a museum I've never been to before as well. And today, I did both!

I picked this magnet up as part of a collection from the Houston's Museum of Fine Arts - a quick visit, where I didn't really see the museum, as much as I ended up on the phone for work. Still, I got to walk around for a quick bit, and peeking around the corner, much to my surprise, was this Monet - The Windmill on the Onbekende Canal, Amsterdam.

So pretty. I loved it. And I've never seen it before. Mind you, I don't even think I knew he'd ever painted in Amsterdam. But so he did.

I picked it for today, because I made another discovery. It's taken me 15 years, but I finally found time to visit the Frick Collection, thanks to a late-morning @NewYorkology Tweet about Sunday's museum discounts. (Dude, I wish you'd Tweet things to do much earlier on in the day, on the weekends!)

I've always meant to visit the Frick, but I want to say someone told me years ago - you know who you are - that it was boring. In fact, it couldn't be more the opposite. It's a small collection, but man, it's so diverse.

For those who don't know, Henry Clay Frick who was born on a Pennsylvania farm and became a coke baron, joined in with Andrew Carnegie, and became a titan of industry, and then relocated here shortly after PA Homestead Strike. I know, right? Hadn't a clue, either.

Anyway, he was an avid art collector - he bought his first Rembrandt for $38,000 by the time he was 31. Can you imagine? La-la-la, I think I'll buy a Rembrandt. Or a Monet. Or a Goya. Or a Titian. Or Turner. Or two!

The Frick houses another Monet that I haven't seen before, V├ętheuil in Winter, one that he painted in the dead of winter, shortly after his wife Camille passed away. This image rendering from the collection doesn't even begin to do the actual painting justice - in real life, it's simply gorgeous, and a more than a little desolate.

I love Frick's penchant for reuniting paintings that had been separated over the years, and finding fantastic ways to display them. And, he had a knack for pairing them as well. He has a couple (!) of Holbeins - one of Sir Thomas More and of Thomas Cromwell and they flank an El Greco above the fireplace. On the opposite wall, are two Titians who flank a Bellini, with the coolest painting of St. Francis of Assisi - ever. Dudes. That's just one room. One. Room.

And, speaking of, as I wandered around, I realized why I liked the museum so much. In addition to a sometimes wry and overwrought audioguide, the Frick is such an intimate museum. You really feel as if you're walking through someone's house. It's because you are. Though the Fricks lived here together for only five years, and then his wife another dozen or so, they definitely kept the house intact, as much as they could. It gives it such a different feel than the standard gallery.

What a great several hours I spent at the Frick today. The collection was just fantastic. If you get a chance, definitely check it out.

*YIPA = "Yes, I'm Procrastinating Again." I know it was supposed to be THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE Weekend, but for whatever reason, I ended up whiling it away in two of our great NYC museums. It's either just me procrastinating as usual, or maybe it's a sign.
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