Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675), "Girl Interrupted at Her Music," ca. 1658-1659. Oil on canvas, 15 ½ x 17 ½ in. The Frick Collection, New York.

The Frick Pittsburgh is presenting a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition this spring that combines many of the most significant artworks from its collection with those of its sister institution, The Frick Collection in New York City.

“Vermeer, Monet, Rembrandt: Forging the Frick Collections in Pittsburgh and New York” will open on April 6, 2024, and continue through July 14. The more than 60 artworks exhibited will include paintings, sculpture, works on paper and decorative arts.

Chief among the works included is the painting “Girl Interrupted at her Music” (ca.1658–59) by Johannes Vermeer, which was featured earlier this year in the Rijksmuseum’s sold-out landmark Vermeer retrospective in Amsterdam.

A pre-exhibition event, the screening of the 2023 documentary “Close to Vermeer,” will be held in The Frick Art Museum auditorium on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. The film goes behind the scenes of the largest Vermeer exhibition ever mounted, presented in early 2023 at the Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands. The auditorium is quite small and advance registration is encouraged.  

The exhibition will focus on the collections of 19th-century industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) and his daughter, philanthropist Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984), the similarities and differences reflected in their collecting passions, and how their acquisitions shaped the museums they established. It traces this evolution from its beginnings in 1880s Pittsburgh, through the family’s move to New York City in 1914, to the eventual creation of The Frick Art Museum in Point Breeze in 1970.

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), “Banks of the Seine at Lavacourt (Bords de la Seine a Lavacourt),” 1879. Oil on canvas, 22 7/8 x 31 ½ in. Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh.

Other artists include Titian, Degas, Whistler, El Greco, Ingres, Millet, Corot, Rousseau, and Scalp Level School founder George Hetzel.

A subtext of the exhibition is an exploration of the cultural context within which the artworks were acquired.

“The Frick family has a complex legacy in Pittsburgh, and through this exhibition, we hope to illuminate that story alongside their lesser-known personal histories,” says Dawn R. Brean, chief curator and director of collections at The Frick Pittsburgh.  

Such ideas and observations will be supported by extensive programming in the spring, including tours, a conversation between curators from both institutions, and a symposium that will address the father-daughter collecting in the context of their times. A newly designed tour of Clayton, the 23-room Frick home within the center’s campus, is titled “Gilded is not Golden.”

Unique programming is also planned at sites significant to Henry Clay Frick’s roots: West Overton Village in Scottdale and Rivers of Steel in Homestead.

Tickets to the exhibition will go on sale to the public in the fall. To learn more about the exhibition, related programs and tickets visit the Frick website.

Mary Thomas was the longtime art critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.