Old Masters New Spaces

I was part of a discussion organised by TEFAF and Apollo about whether or not Old Master paintings look better in traditional settings, as, for example, in the Frick Collection, where they are surrounded by fabric, furniture and decorative arts, a setting of traditional haut luxe, or whether they look at least as good, and possibly even better, in a more neutral, museum environment, as is the orthodoxy in plenty of European museums, as, for example, in the Kunstmuseum in Basel, designed in the 1930s by Paul Bonatz and Rudolf Christ, and the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, where the displays were overseen by Franca Albini who had pioneered a more abstract, ahistorical style of display in the Palazzzo Bianco in Genoa. The discussion was prompted by the issue as to how the Frick’s very choice collection of Old Master paintings will look in Marcel Breuer’s old Whitney Building on Madison Avenue, which is not just ahistorical, but powerfully so, a tough, in some ways combative environment for paintings. We will see.


3 thoughts on “Old Masters New Spaces

  1. Richard Bram says:

    I’m not up on this, Charles. Is the Frick taking over the Whitney Building on Madison? What becomes of the wonderful original museum? I cannot imagine this being any sort of an improvement.

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