The Frick Collection has a gem of an exhibition devoted to “Goya’s Last Works,” comprising some 50 of his efforts, including paintings and delicate miniatures on ivory, as well as assorted lithographs and drawings, all from his latter years.
As always, the compact Frick space is used to maximum advantage in this display that mostly, but not entirely, reflects the 1824-1828 time frame when Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) left Madrid for France and lived in Bordeaux as an aging, sick man who had long since lost his hearing. The show was organized by Jonathan Brown of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts and Susan Grace Galassi, curator of The Frick Collection.
The work that gives me the most satisfaction is the 1820 painting, “Self Portrait with Dr. Arrieta,” which captures Goya old and sick, and the doctor trying to comfort him. It is a painting of the utmost delicacy and expression, rich in pain and compassion. Both figures are so sensitively delineated that as one stands before the work and contemplates it, the ability of Goya to offer so much in the way of emotion on the faces and in body positioning seems as amazing as it is touching.
Especially intriguing are his miniatures on ivory, delicate little paintings that pack so much into the restrictive spaces. There is also one of his most famous achievements “Portrait of a Lady,” which he did in 1824.
The exhibition, so revealing of Goya’s ability, is a must-see event. Through May 14, 2006, at The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street. Phone: 212-288-0700.