Longtime Frick Collection Director to Retire After Renovation Is Unveiled - The World News

Longtime Frick Collection Director to Retire After Renovation Is Unveiled

Ian Wardropper, the director of New York’s Frick Collection for the past 13 years, will retire in 2025, not long after the museum unveils its long-awaited renovation to the public.

The renovation is the biggest project undertaken at the museum by Wardropper since he was hired in 2011. At a cost of $160 million, the renovation, as overseen by Selldorf Architects, will add tens of thousands of square feet in space to the museum and will enable the museum to exhibit more of its permanent collection.

The Frick’s historic home on East 70th Street is currently closed while the renovation is being undertaken, with the museum’s offerings moved to the Breuer building, formerly of the Whitney and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, starting in 2021. The Frick Madison, as its iteration in the Breuer building is known, will shutter in March before Sotheby’s takes over the structure following the auction house’s acquisition of it.

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Frick Collection Director to Retire After Renovation Is Unveiled

At last, the renovated Frick will open later this year, nearly a decade after the museum first announced renovation plans, rankling preservationists in the process.

The Frick, which owns world-famous works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Johannes Vermeer, Bronzino, and many more, has in recent years endeavored to present its works by Old Masters alongside interventions by contemporary artists. Nicolas Party responded in the galleries to Rosalba Carriera’s art, and a Barkley L. Hendricks survey compared his paintings of Black men and women to Old Masters portraiture. Wardropper has promised that the trend will continue when the Frick reopens.

Yet since 2011, the year Wardropper arrived at the Frick, he has also invested significant effort in upholding the treasures of the museum’s collection, most notably leading a restoration effort for Giovanni Bellini’s 1478 painting St. Francis in the Desert. He also organized exhibitions devoted to under-recognized figures within the world of decorative arts, among them Pierre Gouthière and Luigi Valadier.

Prior to becoming director of the Frick, Wardropper had been chair of the Met’s European painting and sculpture department.

In a statement, Wardropper said, “These fourteen years at the Frick will have been among the most rewarding of my career. From the first strategic plan developed together with the Frick’s dedicated Trustees and talented staff, we identified our aspirations and priorities and committed to the values and programs that make the Frick unique. It has been a great privilege to realize these initiatives during my tenure, the reopening of our upgraded buildings being a highlight among many. Following my retirement from the Frick, I look forward to working on a number of scholarly and academic projects.”

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