This fall, the Frick will present the first monographic exhibition devoted to one of the important figures of 18th century Italian decorative arts, Luigi Valadier (1726–1785). The exhibition will open on October 31 and continue through January 20, 2019.
The son of a silversmith who moved to Rome in 1714, Luigi Valadier was the father of the silversmiths Filippo, Tommaso and Luigi, as well as the famous architect Giuseppe Valadier. He began his career in his father’s workshop at Via del Babuino in Rome. As a goldsmith, he was the trusted jeweler of various Popes and also worked for high-ranking Italian and foreign clients.
Valadier was a talented draftsman and designer. He also worked in bronze, but not in the casting of bells. He also feared flaws in the production. It was in fact the pressures associated with the casting of the 10-ton bell of the Basilica of San Pietro, a commission that was accepted by Valadier’s new business partner that drove the artist to throw himself into the Tiber.
He was noted for using precious stones as well as enamel, wood and glass, to create elegant works of art for his clients. The exhibition Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome, will present more than fifty objects, as well as drawings that cover the breadth of his career. Never before has an American museum audience been able to view together so many examples of his production, with significant loans coming from public institutions and private collections in Europe and the U.S. Likewise, the accompanying book is the first substantial monograph published on Valadier and with the show, it will provide a vivid and unprecedented account of the man’s work.
The exhibition and book add dimension to a strong year of Italian programming at the Frick, which began this summer with an exhibition related to a commission by sculptor Antonio Canova and continues this winter and spring with shows on painters Giovanni Battista Moroni and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
The Crick is located at 1 East 70th Street in New York City. For tickets call 646-248-5547 or visit their website at www.frick.org/visit.