When one thinks of Goethe (1749-1832), one doesn’t usually think of him as an art collector. But Goethe was an early builder of a collection that has since grown into the two that are reflected in the new exhibit, “From Callot to Greuze: French Drawings from Weimar,” at the Frick Collection from June 1 through August 7.
Some 70 drawings have been made available by the Schlossmuseum and the Goethe-Nationalmuseum in Weimer, Germany. In addition to collecting on his own, Goethe, when he was privy councilor to Grand Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, urged the Crown to acquire, study and display drawings reflecting European works.
Although he had never been to Paris, Goethe was fascinated with French art and France itself, and he began to acquire French drawings. The exhibition at The Frick includes a range of work from Goethe’s early acquisitions and beyond.
As an example of Jacques Callot’s artistry, there is a drawing in black chalk of the Virgin Mary, dating to about 1631. Jean-Baptiste Greuze is represented by his impressive “Head of a Woman, in Profile and Turned to the Right.” A variety of important artists are also represented.
There is much to savor and study among the selections in this striking exhibition. At the Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street. Information: 212-228-0700.