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Art & Museums

They're back! Restored tapestries return to the Frick Museum

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, 2:51 p.m.
Maker Unknown, Flemish, Brussels, The Court of Love, c. 1500, 
Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.30
COURTESY THE FRICK MUSEUM
Maker Unknown, Flemish, Brussels, The Court of Love, c. 1500, Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.30
MAKER UNKNOWN, French, School of Loire, Lady and Attendants, c. 1500
Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.54
COURTESY THE FRICK MUSEUM
MAKER UNKNOWN, French, School of Loire, Lady and Attendants, c. 1500 Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.54
Detail images, before, during and after conservation treatment: The Court of Love, Tapestry, Flemish, early 16th century. Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 1970.30
COURTESY THE FRICK MUSEUM
Detail images, before, during and after conservation treatment: The Court of Love, Tapestry, Flemish, early 16th century. Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 1970.30
MAKER UNKNOWN, French, School of Loire,  Two Musicians, c. 1500
Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.53
COURTESY THE FRICK MUSEUM
MAKER UNKNOWN, French, School of Loire, Two Musicians, c. 1500 Frick Art & Historical Center, 1970.53

The Frick Museum in Point Breeze is again fully festooned.

All four tapestries purchased by Helen Clay Frick for the museum's rotunda are once again on display. Three were removed in early 2017 for conservation treatment, which was funded by a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project. The fourth received conservation in 2013 with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

All tapestries in the Frick's collection date to around 1510 and reflect the advanced skills of artists creating complex pictorial weavings at a time when fine tapestries were more valuable than paintings – due to the cost of materials and the months of labor required for their production.

Over time, gaps begin to form between colors and their own weight pulls on the fibers, causing breakage. Staining and fading can also be issues, as can earlier repairs that age or discolor differently than the original weaving.

The conservation treatment was completed by expert textile conservator Julia Dippold, who has worked with the Frick's tapestry collection for nearly 20 years and has completed projects for major museums and collections internationally, including Ringling Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.

"The much-needed conservation work generously underwritten by the Bank of America Conservation Project will ensure that the Frick's historic tapestries remain intact for the enjoyment of future generations," says Frick director Robin Nicholson in a news release. "We are delighted to have the complete set of four tapestries back on view after a period of absence, and invite the public to visit the museum and see them on display."

The tapestries are on display in the museum's rotunda and admission to view the permanent collection is free.

Details: 412-371-0600 or thefrickpittsburgh.org

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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