The Frick Collection has continued it’s Diptych series with Constable’s White Horse (Giles, 2020) by William Kentridge.
Since 2018, five titles have been published as part of the Diptych series, each illuminating a single work with an in-depth essay by a curator paired with a contribution from a contemporary cultural figure.
The White Horse (1819) by John Constable (1776–1837) depicts a tow-horse being ferried across the river Stour in Suffolk, just below Flatford Lock at a point where the tow-path switched banks. A scholarly essay by Frick curator Aimee Ng, is paired with a piece by artist William Kentridge, who writes about finding inspiration in Constable’s nostalgic world. The painting was well received when it was shown at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1819, and it was purchased by Constable’s friend Archdeacon John Fisher. Constable bought back the painting in 1829 and kept it the rest of his life. There is a full-scale oil sketch for The White Horse in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Published this month, in association with D Giles Ltd., the new volume on Constable’s White Horse puts the spotlight on a landscape. Included is a scholarly essay by Frick Curator Aimee Ng, who discusses how this work, the first of Constable’s River Stour “six-footer” paintings, represents the artist’s unique process and his dedication to painting en plein air. Complementing the essay is a meditation by artist William Kentridge, who writes about the contrast between the world represented in the painting and memories of his childhood in South Africa, comparing how he approaches his own relationship with landscape in his art.
In March 2021, the Frick is set to publish a Diptych devoted to Titian’s portrait of Pietro Aretino, the famed writer, poet, playwright, and satirist. An essay by Xavier F. Salomon, the Frick’s Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, is paired with a contribution by acclaimed author Francine Prose. Future titles in the series will look at Fragonard’s Progress of Love, examined by Xavier F. Salomon and award-winning novelist Alan Hollinghurst; and Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter, considered by Frick Curator Emerita Susan Grace Galassi and artist Olafur Eliasson.
Published in 2018, the inaugural Frick Diptych is on Holbein’s 1527 portrait of the prominent Tudor-era figure Sir Thomas More and pairs an essay by Xavier F. Salomon with a literary piece by the award-winning writer Hilary Mantel. In the second volume, Johannes Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid (1666–67) is illuminated with an essay by the Frick’s former Associate Research Curator Peggy Iacono and an imagined storyline by James Ivory, film director, writer and producer. In the third title, the Frick’s former Decorative Arts Curator Charlotte Vignon is joined by artist and best selling author Edmund de Waal in considering a spectacular pair of porcelain and gilt-bronze candlesticks by Pierre Gouthière. The fourth diptych is devoted to Rembrandt’s enigmatic portrait of The Polish Rider. An essay by Salomon is accompanied by a illustrated essay by author and illustrator Maira Kalman.
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