Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection at the Frick

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 17, 2009

From the Frick’s website:

Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection
Frick Collection, New York, 6 October 2009 – 10 January 2010


Colin Bailey, Susan Grace Galassi, Mària van Berge-Gerbaud, $60

Frederik Johannes Lugt (1884–1970) was a Dutch art historian, connoisseur, and collector. His fame in scholarly circles derives from two pioneering publications, still in use today: his Les marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes, published in 1921, which identifies the collectors’ marks found on Old Master prints and drawings, and the Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques intéressant l’art ou la curiosité, a comprehensive listing of nearly 90,000 auction catalogues from sales occurring between 1600 and 1925, published in four volumes between 1938 and 1987.

Frits Lugt, as he was known, was a born collector. By the age of eight, he had sold his shell collection to the natural history department of Amsterdam’s Royal Zoo; at fifteen, he acquired his first drawing. In his thirties, he began to collect in a more serious and systematic way, specializing in Dutch and Flemish drawings and prints, always his chief interest. During the 1920s, the decade in which he made his most important acquisitions, he also bought fifteenth-century Italian drawings and eighteenth-century French sheets.


Charles-Nicolas Cochin, "Portrait of Pierre-Jean Mariette," Graphite with stumping, 1756

Lugt was among the founders and principal supporters of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD), the institute devoted to the study of Netherlandish art and artists, established in The Hague in 1930. In 1947, he created the Fondation Custodia in Paris, to care for and to add to his collection of 6,000 Old Master drawings and 30,000 prints. The Frits Lugt Collection is widely regarded by specialists as one of the finest of its kind, but it is less well known to the general public.

Curators at The Frick Collection were invited to select for the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue Lugt’s finest eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French drawings, and the sixty-four works featured in the exhibition illuminate both Lugt’s taste and that of his successors. Included are drawings and watercolors by well-known masters of the French School such as Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard, David, Ingres, and Degas, as well as by important figures who are less familiar to the general public. This is the first time that a group of French master drawings from the Fondation Custodia has traveled to New York.

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Stijn Alsteens (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY), Frits Lugt: Connoisseur and Collector of Drawings
Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 6pm

Colin Bailey (Frick Collection), Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from The Frits Lugt Collection
Saturday, 9 January 2010, 2pm

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The show’s illustrated checklist (available here) includes more than thirty eighteenth-century drawings. The Frick’s website also includes podcasts on the exhibition by Colin Bailey and Susan Galassi.

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