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On Thursday, March 22, I met up with a fabulous gaggle of old and new friends at the Plaza Hotel where we ascended a fleet of horses and carriages to trot us over to the Frick Collection. It was certainly an appropriate and grand entrance to the Belle Époque-themed Young Fellows Ball. The fin-de-siecle motif was in homage to the museum’s current exhibit Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting. Sponsored by Donna Karan, the ball drew more than six hundred guests to the stunning Fifth Avenue mansion that houses The Frick Collection. Dressed to the nines, we all meandered through the scenic Garden Court and Music Room for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and dancing. The highlight of the evening (besides the horse and carriage) was our intimate stroll through the museum's historic galleries containing the Renoir paintings, as well as other masterpieces by Degas, El Greco, Fragonard, Goya, Rembrandt, Renoir, Titian, Turner and Vermeer.
The Frick Collection was founded by Pittsburgh industrialist, Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919). Upon his death, Mr. Frick bequeathed his New York residence and the most outstanding of his many art works to establish a public gallery for the purpose of “encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts.” Chief among his bequests, which also included sculpture, drawings, prints, and decorative arts such as furniture, porcelains, enamels, rugs and silver, were one hundred thirty-one paintings. Forty-seven additional paintings have been acquired over the years by the Trustees from an endowment provided by the founder and through gifts and bequests. As of the end of 1995 The Frick Collection housed a permanent collection of more than 1,100 works of art from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century.