Books From the Frick to Offer Authors’ Views on Major Works – New York Times

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From left, Edmund de Waal, Hilary Mantel and James Ivory, who will contribute writing to Frick Diptychs, a series of books to be published by the Frick museum.

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From left: Andrew Testa for the New York Times, left and center; Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

The novelist Hilary Mantel, the filmmaker James Ivory and the artist and author Edmund de Waal are among the first participants in Frick Diptychs, a new series of small books to be published by the museum that pair masterworks from the Frick Collection with critical and literary essays.

The Frick, a museum known for its old master paintings and European objets d’art, announced on Monday that the series would begin next April, and that each edition would feature one work of art, an essay by a curator and another written piece by an artist or writer.

Ian Wardropper, the museum’s director, said in a statement, “This new series sparks a dialogue in essay form between creative spirits and art historians, promising fresh insights into some of the Frick’s best known master works.”

A 1527 Hans Holbein’s portrait of the humanist and author Sir Thomas More — one of the Frick’s most famous paintings — will be the subject of the first installment. Xavier Solomon, the museum’s chief curator, will write the essay. Ms. Mantel, who won back-to-back Man Booker Prizes for her historical novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” will be the book’s featured writer.

Future installments are to include Vermeer’s “Mistress and Maid” (1666-67), with a piece by Mr. Ivory — half of the filmmaking duo Merchant Ivory Productions, best known for lush adaptations of E.M. Forster books like “Howards End” and “A Room With a View.”

Mr. de Waal, whose book “The White Road” explored his love for porcelain, will contribute an essay to a Frick Diptychs book about a pair of porcelain and bronze candlesticks by the 18th-century French metalworker Pierre Gouthière.


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