The Frick Collection // New York

As well as exploring New York’s incredible contemporary galleries, we visited The Frick Collection. The Frick is known for its outstanding collection of works of art from the Renaissance to the 19th century and includes artists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Degas, Turner and El Greco. The museum also has a charming garden to relax in and was a serene environment to enjoy the collection.

Here are some of our favourite works of art on display at The Frick Collection ...

Giovanni Bellini is the most famous of the Bellini family of Venetian Renaissance painters. He revolutionised Venetian painting through his coloristic and sensuous style. This work below, St Francis in the Desert (c. 1476-78) shows St Francis receiving the stigmata. We loved the landscape which is painted with stunning detail and includes animals, birds, plants and objects like skulls.  

We couldn't help but be drawn to some of the more British works of art on display such as this portrait of Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein. German artist Holbein spent long periods in England where he painted the nobility of the Tudor Court.

This terracotta sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon also caught our eye. It represents Diana the Huntress and its life size-scale is incredible. Houdon called on classical sources such as the Apollo Belvedere which inspired her long limbed, elegant pose.

There were also some outstanding works by Titian on display. Titian is an artist who has always captivated us for his rich hues and alluring subjects. He is widely regarded as the greatest painter of 16th century Venice and when you face his paintings you can see why. The depiction of soft flesh and textures of fur is painted with extraordinary detail.

The Whitney // New York

During our trip to New York we also visited the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney focuses on American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. It was founded by sculptor and collector Gertrude Whitney, who wanted to promote the work of American avant-garde artists she felt were going unrecognised. After the Met Museum declined her gift of 700 works of art for their collection, she opened her own gallery in 1929.

It was a great year to visit the Whitney - in April it finally opened its new doors after the five year construction of a new gallery in the Meatpacking District.

The new building was remarkable to see, it has been designed by architect Renzo Piano, known for his many prizes and museum constructions. While he has been criticised for his imposing structures, we were struck by the boldness and bravery of his design.

We were most intrigued by the Whitney's permanent collection which ranges from 1912 to the mid 60s and traces the development of American Modernism. Unsurprisingly, the collection is dominated by Abstract Expressionism.

Among the works on display by Edward Hopper was this study for his iconic painting 'Nighthawks'.

We also like this charcoal drawing by Georgia O'Keeffe (left). Her abstract work was inspired by organic forms from nature like flowers and trees. There is a beautiful fluidity in the rhythmic spirals in this drawing. Willem de Kooning's paintings were also beautifully vibrant, such as this work called 'Door to the River' (right) which uses giant strokes of pink and yellow.

As well as a fantastic permanent collection, there was a retrospective of Frank Stella which we caught. The exhibition showcased works from the 1950s to the present day with over 120 works of art including paintings, sculptures and drawings. Stella is a key figure in American Modernism, inspiring minimal, abstract and colour fields artists so it felt pertinent to see his work in New York. We were also attracted by his bold colour schemes, works of art like this can enliven modern and minimal interiors. 

'Picasso Sculpture' at MoMA New York

You might have seen from our Twitter photos that we spent last week in New York, exploring the city and in particular its extraordinary art galleries. New York during the Autumn is a beautiful place, its colours and culture are truly inspiring.

For those of you who have been, it will be no surprise that one of our highlights was visiting MoMA. We were lucky enough to catch MoMA’s exhibition of Picasso’s sculptures. It’s been highly anticipated as there hasn’t been an exhibition of this scale of Picasso’s sculptural works since 1967.

 

Throughout his influential career, sculpture was a medium Picasso returned to time and again. He approached sculpture in an excitedly experimental way which we love. He blended both traditional and unconventional materials and methods, much like his paintings.

The exhibition itself had over one hundred works on display, complimented by photographs and works on paper which was a lovely story telling device.

Picasso’s ‘Still Life with Guitar’ (1912) really grabbed our attention. It has been formed in true Cubist style, with multiple angles modelled from cardboard.

It was fascinating to see an artist whose career is triumphed though works on canvas with such a vast collection of sculptural works. We also enjoyed seeing how his sculpture informed his painted works and vice versa. 

De Gournay at the Met

Our friends at de Gournay have just told us about their involvement at this year’s Met Gala. For those of you less familiar with their work, de Gournay specialise in hand painted wallpaper, fabrics, furniture and porcelain.

Claud Cecil Gurney founded the design house in 1986 after searching for wallpapers for his own home, inspired by Chinese artisans and painters he set about opening his own studio in China. De Gournay still create designs that are inspired by 18th Century Chinoiserie hand painted designs and now work from four studios across China.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Asian Art department is celebrating its hundredth anniversary with the major exhibition ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’, which also dictated this year’s Met Gala theme. It is the largest exhibition in the Costume Institute’s history, with 16 galleries taking a look at how China has inspired Western fashion designers and how traditional symbols have been re-appropriated. As well as fashion, there are exquisite pieces of porcelain, paintings, calligraphy and costumes.

Alongside several the exquisite garments, de Gournay’s wallpaper sits behind as a backdrop. This work merges perfectly with this theme of how Western design houses have been heavily inspired by Chinese traditions. 

For the Met Gala they also produced stunning details that really helped to produce the Chinoiserie look and feel of the event. They designed and hand painted details including the stage curtain, beautiful tablecloths and even a 40 foot feature wall.