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Exploring The Frick Collection

Henry Clay Frick, a wealthy industrialist, was one of the world’s preeminent art collectors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though initially residing in Pittsburgh, Frick moved himself, and his enormous collection of art, to New York City in 1905. Upon his death, Frick willed his residence and his collection to the city as a public museum, and since 1935, it has functioned as such, rapidly becoming one of the world’s most renowned museums of fine art. The Frick Collection houses works by: Rembrant, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Jan Vermeer, Aelbert Cuyp, El Greco, Andrea Riccio, and a host of others. 


The residence itself would be worth the visit on its own. The Beaux Arts-style mansion was designed by the famed architect Thomas Hastings, and constructed from Indiana limestone. It’s one of the largest and most impressive homes ever constructed in New York City. Residents of Urbana’s Central Park luxury apartments are only steps from an iconic piece of architecture, and one of the region’s true havens of art. 


Through Nov. 17, The Frick is hosting an exhibition titled “Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at The Frick Collection.” The installation includes a collection of sculptures by the famed ceramist, as well as “site-specific works made of porcelain, steel, gold, marble, and glass.” It’s the first installation of its kind in the country. 


Another acclaimed exhibition that has been running since last October, and ends on Sept. 22, is “Masterpieces of French Faience: Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection.” The Knafel collection, which was a promised gift, and includes 75 pieces, is, as the Frick puts it, the “finest collection of French faience in private hands.” This practice of meticulously preparing, glazing, and adorning earthenware brought forth pieces of astonishing delicacy and beauty. This exhibit gives viewers a comprehensive look at this unique form of decorative art.


Starting on Oct. 16 and running through January of 2020 is “Manet: Three Paintings from the Norton Simon Museum. Three famous paintings by the French modernist master will be on loan from the California institution to be displayed in The Frick. These three pieces, “Still Life with Fish and Shrimp,” “The Ragpicker,” and “Madame Manet,” represent specific areas of Manet’s life and work, and provide a window into the artist’s mind. 


The Frick offers an array of membership options for those who seek a deeper involvement with the institution. There are many levels available, beginning with the most basic membership, which grants free admission, discounts on ticketed events such as concerts and educational programs, as well as access to members-only affairs. And, of course, the further up the ladder you go, the more benefits you receive. The highest levels include curator-led gallery talks, and invitations to garden parties, exhibition openings, behind-the-scenes luncheons, private tours, and a host of additional exclusive programs. 


Regardless of your level of involvement, whether you’re a patron fellow or an occasional visitor, the Frick is a phenomenal institution to have right in your own neighborhood. It all awaits, just steps from Urbana’s Central Park Apartments.