The Frick Gets A Special Loan

by Alex R. Travers

This fall The Frick Collection will have art lovers marveling anew. On October 30, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier) will leave its home at the Norton Simon Museum for the first time in 40 years and nestle up inside The Frick through January 30, 2013. The exhibition will be the first showcase, part of a new exchange program between the Norton Simon Museum and The Frick Collection, to present museum-goers with the opportunity to see spectacular works of art in new settings.

Vincent van Gogh, as an artist, stuck his neck way out by combining his use of vivid colors with the application of expressive brushstrokes in portraiture. His daring is electrifying. Portrait of a Peasant highlights van Gogh’s unique ability to depict the spirit of his sitter and at the same time breaks away from the chains of Impressionism, where color was used to portray naturalism. In van Gogh’s words to his brother Theo: “I wanted to paint a little old peasant, who very much resembles our father in features. . . .Behind the head. . . I paint infinity, a plain background of the richest, most intense blue I can conceive, and by this single combination of the bright head against the rich blue background, I get a mysterious effect, like a star in the depths of an azure sky.”

Vincent van Gogh
Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), 1888
oil on canvas, 25 3/8 x 21 1⁄2 inches

For more information about the exhibition visit the Frick Collection’s website.