It's a unique New York City match the one between The Frick Collection Museum and the Breuer Building, a venue originally designed to house the Witney Museum's collection of contemporary American art and recently used by the Metropolitan Museum as exhibition space. Starting in 2021 for about two years, the historic step-like building will house an exceptional collection - a very permanent one, as it has never traveled before. We are talking about two "neighbors" - it takes 8 minutes of walking to go from one to the other - that are also among the icons of the Upper East Side, the Manhattan high-end neighborhood hosting the Museum Mile, the area with the highest concentration of museums in the city.
The occasion is a great one for lovers of both the old masters and 20th century art, as the curators promise to arrange the Frick's historic collection, with masterpieces by Bellini, Rembrandt, Pietro dell Francesca, Velasquez, etc., in a completely new way, free from the sublime constraints in which it is embedded today. So the works traditionally exhibited in the early 20th century house designed by steel magnate Mr. Henry Clay Frick to house his collection like in a "jewel box", will for the first time have the opportunity to show themselves in a more aseptic context, according to a chronological and geographical arrangement.
The Brutalist architecture designed by Marcel Breuer in 1966 will provide ample space to showcase even unknown sides of the Gilded Age collection, such as the complete set of panels with Fragonard's stories of the “Progress of love”. To accommodate these panels Mr. Frick made his architect change the design of his New York home and today the Frick Collection, one of the most conservative institutions in the world, is embarking on a renovation project to adapt the historic house to today's visitors. A $160 million plan that will make the upper floors of the house accessible and add a total of 78,000 feet to the structure, is the reason for this temporary trip to Madison Avenue.
The Frick Collection Museum Director Ian Wardropper says, "We've learned that you can't fight Brutalism, you have to work with it... Audiences will be able to experience the collection reframed in an exciting new way. The minimalism of Marcel Breuer’s mid-century architecture will provide a unique backdrop for our Old Masters, and the result will be a not-to-be-missed experience, one that our public is sure to find engaging and thought-provoking."