New York City, NY
The Frick Collection recently announced the largest acquisition in its history — a promised gift of approximately 450 portrait medals from the incomparable collection of Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher. Representing the development of the art of the portrait medal from its inception in fifteenth-century Italy to the nineteenth century, the Scher collection is arguably the world’s most comprehensive and significant collection of portrait medals. Comments Director Ian Wardropper, “Henry Clay Frick had an abiding interest in portraiture as expressed in the paintings, sculpture, enamels, and works on paper he acquired. The Scher medals will coalesce beautifully with these holdings, being understood in our galleries within the broader contexts of European art and culture. At the same time, the intimate scale of the institution will offer a superb platform for the medals to be appreciated as an independent art form, one long overdue for fresh attention and public appreciation.”
To celebrate the promised gift, The Frick Collection will mount an exhibition this spring entitled The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals. The exhibition will explore the flourishing of the medallic arts in major European centers of artistic production and will feature superlative examples by masters of the art such as Pisanello (Italy), Dupré (France), and Reinhart (Germany). Taking and fresh approach to the study of medals, which have often been viewed in the past as specialist objects closer to the field of numismatics, this exhibition will examine medals within the larger context of art, honoring them as a triumph of sculptural production on a small scale. Visitors to the show will encounter a number of renowned sculptors who were also masters of the medal.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.