Orazio Gentileschi, "Danaë and the Shower of Gold", ca. 1621–22. Oil on canvas. Collection of Richard L. Feigen, B.A. 1952.
NEW HAVEN, CT.- Italian Paintings from the Richard L. Feigen Collection features some 60 paintings from one of the finest private collections of Italian art in existence. On view at the Yale University Art Gallery from May 28 through September 12, 2010, the exhibition includes major works from the 14th through the 17th century by celebrated artists such as Fra Angelico, Lorenzo Monaco, Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, Domenichino, Guercino, and Orazio Gentileschi. Organized by Laurence Kanter, the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art, the exhibition draws from the wide-ranging collection assembled by noted author, collector, and dealer Richard L. Feigen, b.a. 1952. Feigen’s outstanding collection of Italian paintings has never before been exhibited or catalogued in its entirety. The exhibition offers visitors the first and only opportunity to view these significant paintings, in concert with Yale’s own noted collection of early Italian paintings.
The Italian paintings owned by Richard Feigen constitute what is among the most important private collections in the world today, one that is widely admired for both its depth and quality. The collection is particularly noteworthy for its early Tuscan paintings, late Renaissance and Mannerist works, and early Baroque masterpieces. Included in the exhibition are three paintings by Fra Angelico, ranging in date from one of his earliest works from before 1420 to what may be among the last images he created before his death in 1455. Among other highlights are Jacopo Zucchi’s "The Crucifixion" (ca. 1583) and Alessandro Allori’s "Christ Carrying the Cross" (ca. 1591–95)—examples of small, refined works painted on copper, a technique that came into vogue in the later 16th century and found an even greater popularity in the 17th century. The collection also features two of the most important masterpieces of Baroque painting anywhere in the country—"The Virgin and Child with Saint Lucy and the Young Saint John the Baptist" (ca. 1587–88) by Annibale Carracci and "Danaë and the Shower of Gold" (1621–22) by Orazio Gentileschi.
The exhibition offers visitors a unique opportunity to view Yale’s permanent collection of Italian paintings, on view on the third floor of the Gallery, in the context of masterpieces of equal or even greater importance. In 1871 the Yale University Art Gallery acquired the James Jackson Jarves Collection of Italian paintings, making Yale only the second public institution in the United States (following the New-York Historical Society) to own and display a significant number of works from the early Italian Renaissance. Underappreciated at the time, these objects have come to be esteemed as cultural icons and to be pursued by museums throughout the country and around the world. Yet few museums anywhere have amassed the range and quality of works of art from the early Renaissance represented in Yale’s collection.
Featuring one of the largest and finest groups of 13th- and 14th-century Tuscan paintings in the world, the Jarves Collection also contains a significant number of Sienese 15th-century paintings, as well as such acknowledged masterworks as Gentile da Fabriano’s "Virgin and Child" (ca. 1420) and Antonio del Pollaiuolo’s "Hercules and Deianira" (ca. 1475–80). The Gallery’s collection of Italian paintings has grown over the years with important acquisitions such as Jacopo Pontormo’s "Madonna del Libro" (ca. 1545–46). Italian Paintings from the Richard L. Feigen Collection continues the Gallery’s long tradition of highlighting the remarkable works from this important period in the history of art.
Richard L. Feigen, b.a. 1952, is one of today’s most important art collectors and dealers. Based in New York, Feigen runs a gallery that bears his name. For more than 50 years, Feigen has been collecting and dealing a wide range of work—from Old Master drawings to contemporary works. He has represented artists such as Jasper Johns, sold works to over 110 museums, and made many discoveries at auction, including Fra Angelico’s Vision of Saint Lucy that was auctioned at Sotheby’s under a different attribution. Feigen is the author of the acclaimed memoir "Tales From the Art Crypt: The Painters, the Museums, the Curators, the Collectors, the Auctions, the Art" (2000). This exhibition marks the first time he has publicly shown his personal collection of Italian paintings.
Annibale Carracci, "Virgin and Child with Saint Lucy and the Young Saint John the Baptist", ca. 1587–88. Oil on panel. Collection of Richard L. Feigen, B.A. 1952.