Claude Monet (French, 1840−1926), Vétheuil in Winter, 1878−79. Oil on canvas. 27 x 35 3/8 inches. The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

Olafur Eliasson and Claude Monet: October 20, 2022, through January 22, 2023

In the fall of 2022, the Frick presents a special installation that takes inspiration from the institution’s acclaimed Diptych publication series. In conjunction with a volume focused on Claude Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter, the Frick is installing a new work created for the occasion by Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967 Denmark) alongside the Monet painting, one of the museum’s few Impressionist works. The publication, which will be released simultaneously, features a text by Eliasson and an essay by Frick Curator Emerita Susan Grace Galassi. Each book in the Diptych series, which was launched in 2018, focuses on a single work in the collection, pairing an illuminating essay by a curator with a contribution from a contemporary cultural figure.

Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Curator, has organized the installation and comments, “From our education programs to our publications, the Frick embraces engagement in art through slow looking and shared conversation. The structure of our Diptych series typifies this, and we very much look forward to the upcoming volume with its focus on Monet. The fact that the series has now inspired the creation of a work of art tied to a particular Frick painting is thrilling to us, and we’re pleased to bring the book to life, in a sense, by presenting the paintings together in our galleries.”

Book Cover of Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter

Monet painted the snowy Vétheuil scene in 1878–79, during the first of two extremely harsh winters he and his family spent in the remote village on the banks of the Seine, midway between Paris and Rouen. The severity and bleakness of the weather echoed the difficulties he experienced during this period, when his finances were in ruin and his wife’s health was in decline. Mesmerized by the seasons and the effect of changing light on water and other objects, Monet preferred to paint outdoors as much as possible.

Paired alongside the Monet will be a new work by Olafur Eliasson, whose practice embraces a variety of media and often investigates light, color, and perception to heighten our understanding of each other and our surroundings. Eliasson began his ongoing “colour experiment” series in 2009, inspired by the idea of producing a new, comprehensive color theory that would comprise all the visible colors of the prism. Created on round canvases, often with holes in the center, the works in this series derive their palettes from paintings by artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Caspar David Friedrich and, more recently, from the artist’s own photographs of his native Iceland.

Colour experiment no. 109, 2020. Oil on canvas diam. 44 1/2 inches. Courtesy the artist

For Colour experiment no. 109—the work Eliasson created for this project—the Frick made a color-calibrated photograph of Vétheuil in Winter and sent a high-quality print to the artist’s studio in Berlin. Eliasson then abstracted the palette from the subject matter, spreading the colors out onto the surface of the round canvas in a gradient color wheel, transitioning from dark to light. The circumference of Eliasson’s painting is large enough to contain the original by Monet, embracing it within the color wheel. The result, two years in the making, is a thought-provoking juxtaposition that recalls Monet’s own experiments with light and color and accentuates both the formal qualities and poignant resonance of the original canvas.

The Frick Diptych series is published by The Frick Collection in association with D Giles Ltd., London, sold online through the Museum Shop at www.frick.org/shop or by emailing sales@frick.orgMonet’s Vétheuil in Winter, by Olafur Eliasson and Susan Grace Galassi will be available in the fall of 2022 (72 pages, 35 color illustrations, hardcover $29.95, member price $26.96.

Funding for the installation at Frick Madison is generously provided by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Saul and The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

ABOUT OLAFUR ELIASSON

Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Lars Borges

Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) is a prolific Icelandic-Danish artist who works in a wide range of media and forms—installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film—to address topics related to architecture, ecology, food, education, sustainability, climate change, and perception. Over the past couple of decades, he has developed several world-renowned art projects that address our relationship with the environment, the earliest among them being his Weather Project (2003) at the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London. In 2008, he created a Public Art Fund project consisting of four man-made waterfalls placed around New York City along the East River.

Eliasson has had solo shows in major institutions around the world, among them, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; SESC Belenzinho, SESC Pompéia, and the Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo; and the Venice Biennale. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Kunstmuseum Basel, among others.

ABOUT THE FRICK COLLECTION AND FRICK MADISON

Internationally recognized as a premier museum and research center, The Frick Collection is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. The collection originated with Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who bequeathed his home, paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts to the public for their enjoyment. The institution’s holdings—which encompass masterworks from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century—have grown over the decades, more than doubling in size since the opening of the museum in 1935. A critical component of the institution is the Frick Art Reference Library, founded in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of the museum’s founder. Recognized as one of the world’s top art history research centers, it has served students, scholars, and members of the public free of charge for generations.

The Frick’s historic buildings are currently closed for renovation. Honoring the Frick’s architectural legacy, the plan designed by Selldorf Architects will provide unprecedented access to the 1914 residence, while preserving the intimate visitor experience and beloved galleries. The plan will create new spaces for the display of art, conservation, education, and programs, while improving amenities and overall accessibility.

During the renovation, the museum and library collections remain accessible five blocks north at Frick Madison, the Marcel Breuer–designed building that was once the home of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Audiences may enjoy a substantial gathering of highlights from the Frick, reframed in a setting that inspires fresh perspectives. In a departure from the Frick’s customary presentation style, works are organized at Frick Madison chronologically and by region, allowing for fresh juxtapositions and new insights about treasured paintings and sculptures by Bellini, Bronzino, Clodion, Gainsborough, Goya, Holbein, Houdon, Ingres, Piero della Francesca, Rembrandt, Titian, Turner, Velázquez, Vermeer, and many others. The installation also spotlights the Frick’s impressive holdings of decorative arts and sculpture, as well as rarely seen works.

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BASIC INFORMATION
Website:
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Frick Madison visitor address: 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021
Museum hours: Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday. See website for holiday schedule.
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Refreshments: A light menu, offered by Joe Coffee, is available during museum hours.
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