Homage to Anthony van Dyck in New York!


The Frick Collection, a museum located on 5th Avenue in New York, has decided to pay homage to Anthony Van Dyck, by devoting an exhibition to him entitled "Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture", which will be held from 2 March to 5 June 2016.

With about 100 works, this event will be the first major exhibition devoted to this 17th-century painter since the exhibition at the Washington National Gallery of Art in the 1990s. It also aims to provide a complete examination of his creative process as a portrait artist, juxtaposing preparatory sketches with engravings and paintings, some of which are incomplete.

The exhibition covers Van Dyck's entire career, including his initial works, when the young prodigy was greatly influenced by Peter Paul Rubens; his Italian period; and finally his English period, during which he made his name at the court of the King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1625-1649), Charles I. The exhibition is organised by Stijn Alsteens, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and by Adam Eaker, curator of the Frick Collection.

A prolific artist and a great favourite among collectors during the Golden Age, Van Dyck (1599-1641) is one of the best represented artists in the Frick Collection. Eight of his works can be found there, but they have been stored away for many years. For this exhibition, six of them will be exhibited, including masterpieces such as the portrait of the animal painter Frans Snyders and his wife, Margareta de Vos. The rest comes from loans, in particular the Portrait of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, which, for the first time, will be arriving from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.

According to Xavier F. Salomon, the museum's head curator, it is worthwhile taking an interest in Van Dyck's work today. At the time, the social elite used to flock to this artist in order to obtain an instant portrait of themselves which could be exhibited to others. Today, society is obsessed with selfies, these self-portraits that are shared with others. Van Dyck's period was, in some ways, an era of pre-selfies, "there was a dialogue between the portrait artists and the model. He preserves them for eternity", adds Salomon.