The Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting in America Symposium, A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America, November 12-13, 2010
Founded in 1913, The Frick Collection is a gem of an institution; it is America’s answer to The Wallace Collection that was established by The 3rd Marquess of Hertford, in 1897. Not long prior to his death, the Pittsburgh steel industrialist, Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), endowed the better part of his exquisite collection of Old Master paintings, Renaissance Bronzed and French 18th century furniture to the city of New York for the purpose of “encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts.” About three weeks ago, I met with Inge Reist, The Director of The Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting in America to talk about the organization’s outstanding achievements since its inception, in 2007.
Homa Taj – The Center for the History of Collecting in America has been in existence for a little more than three and a half years. Yet, I must admit that looking at your list of activities over the past 36 plus months, you have already completed an impressive raqnge of projects. Why don’t we begin with your bi-annual symposia…
Inge Reist – The symposia, which we host twice annually, focus on particular aspects of collecting – for example, different approaches to the display of art in private collections; the taste for Dutch or Spanish old masters at different moments in our history; turning points in modern art collecting; the artist as a collector. These occasions give us the opportunity to invite scholars to exchange ideas with one another as they present current research to an audience which may include scholars, museum professionals, as well as collectors and members of the general public. The roster of speakers customarily includes both art historians and cultural historians, which makes for a rich investigation of the topic at hand. Perhaps most importantly, we aim to publish essays based on the papers presented at these symposia and, in doing so, we know that our Center will be making a continuing contribution to the growing body of literature in this field.