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People  & Parties With Panache The Frick Collection
Autumn Dinner

Guests enjoy dining in the newly reinstalled, reconceived, and relit East Gallery
Guests enjoy dining in the newly reinstalled, reconceived, and relit East Gallery.

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On Monday, October 19, 2009, The Frick Collection honored Philippe de Montebello at its annual Autumn Dinner. One of the world’s most influential and widely admired cultural leaders, Philippe de Montebello was the longest-serving director in the history of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Frick Collection was pleased to pay tribute to this consummate museum director whose vision and dedication to the field will continue to inspire the next generation of museum professionals.

Margot and Jerry Bogert, Agnes Gund, and J. Tomilson Hill were Benefit Chairmen. Mrs. Stephen M. Kellen and Paul Singer were Dinner Benefactors and The Bank of New York Mellon, John and Constance Birkelund, Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Eberstadt, Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin W. Hobbs, Pat and John Rosenwald, Sotheby’s, and Aso O. Tavitian were Dinner Patrons.

This year’s Autumn Dinner was a terrific success, inspiring a generous level of support, raising over $975,000. Proceeds will support the full range of programs of The Frick Collection, including educational and curatorial initiatives and the Frick Art Reference Library.

As guests arrived, they found many choices: a receiving line in the Entrance Hall, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Garden Court, the remarkable permanent collection galleries, and special access to the acclaimed fall special exhibition, Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection (downstairs galleries). In the Cabinet, they could also view the first presentation by the Frick’s new (and first ever!) Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, Charlotte Vignon, Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop. Guests next drifted into three magnificent galleries to find their seats for dinner, enjoying the splendor of the dramatically uplit masterpieces they contain. Two grand banquet tables ran the length of the mansion’s West Gallery, with paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Veronese, Turner, all illuminated from below. Guests in the Oval Room found themselves at more intimate round tables surrounded by four of Whistler’s most beloved full-length portraits. In some sense, the East Gallery became a special private salon, as a feature of the evening was that room making its formal debut to supporters, as it had been in recent weeks entirely rethought, reinstalled, and relit. There, guests enjoyed great Spanish works such as Goya’s iconic painting The Forge, and El Greco’s portrait Vincenzo Anastagi. Other paintings presented for the first time in this newly conceived room included William Hogarth’s Miss Mary Edwards and Joshua Reynolds’s General John Burgoyne, while returning favorites included canvases by Chardin, Greuze, Manet, and David. Benefit Chairs Margot and Jerry Bogert funded the installation of a new soft coral wall covering against which fine works become masterpieces.

Guests dined on House Smoked Trout with Ruby Grapefruit Mache Salad Avocado and Pickled Mustard Seed, Griggstown Farm Pheasant Breast Sous Vide with White Wine-Thyme Jus Chestnut Gnocchi and Wilted Tuscan Kale and Apple Tarte Tatin with Sour Cream Ice Cream.

The decorative scheme was devised by Galen Lee, the Frick’s Horticulturist and Special Events Designer (and executed with his associate Bernadette Morrell). Arrangements were created in neoclassical urns they custom painted in natural earth colors that, in some cases, matched the pigments and origins of the paintings in the room. The East and West Gallery arrangements were thoroughly autumnal in flavor with a bounteous mixture of flowers and fruit. Tables in the East Gallery featured bittersweet, calla lilies, pomegranates, and three shades of red roses; the West Gallery featured bittersweet and persimmons, while the Oval Room arrangements were replete with lemons, variegated ivy, clematis, gentian, and hydrangea (favorite flower of Whistler’s subject Robert de Montesquieu). The schemes of all three rooms were unified by the use of a ribbed golden fabric tablecloths alluding to the glowing fields of fall in evening light. For the Garden Court, where the evening began with cocktails, Lee selected Japanese chrysanthemums in pale lavender for a positively lush effect.

The receiving line of Frick Trustee Chairman (and Benefit Chairman) Margot Bogert, Director Anne L. Poulet, Benefit Chairman Agnes Gund, honoree Philippe de Montebello, and Benefit J. Tomilson Hill and Janine Hill
The receiving line of Frick Trustee Chairman (and Benefit Chairman) Margot Bogert, Director Anne L. Poulet, Benefit Chairman Agnes Gund, honoree Philippe de Montebello, and Benefit Chairman J. Tomilson Hill and Janine Hill.

Frick Director Anne L. Poulet with Helen Clay Chace, great granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick (and former Frick Board president) and honoree Philippe de Montebello
Frick Director Anne L. Poulet with Helen Clay Chace, great granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick (and former Frick Board president) and honoree Philippe de Montebello.

Frick Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Colin B. Bailey, Vera and Walter A. Eberstadt, Margo M. Langenberg, and Frederick R. Koch
Frick Associate Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Colin B. Bailey, Vera Eberstadt, Walter A. Eberstadt, Margo M. Langenberg, and Frederick R. Koch.

E. John Rosenwald, Randall Smith, Pat Rosenwald, John Rafferty, Edith de Montebello, and Emily Rafferty
E. John Rosenwald, Randall Smith, Pat Rosenwald, John Rafferty, Edith de Montebello, and Emily Rafferty.

Robert L. Froelich, Emily T. Frick, Roberta Sandeman, and Christian K. Keesee
Robert L. Froelich, Emily T. Frick, Roberta Sandeman, and Christian K. Keesee.

Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Campbell with Denise Saul and Andrew Saul
Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Campbell with Denise Saul and Andrew Saul.

Peter P. Blanchard,  Sofia Blanchard,  Susan Johnson and Henry P. Johnson
Peter P. Blanchard, Sofia Blanchard, Susan Johnson and Henry P. Johnson.

Marvin Davidson, Mary Davidson with Elizabeth Gerschel
Marvin Davidson, Mary Davidson with Elizabeth Gerschel.

Anne Goldrach, Alain Goldrach and Caroline Milbank
Anne Goldrach, Alain Goldrach and Caroline Milbank.

Kimba Wood and Frank E. Richardson
Kimba Wood and Frank E. Richardson.

Louise Grunwald and Mark Fisch
Louise Grunwald and Mark Fisch.

Stephanie French, Elizabeth Rohatyn, and Peter N. Heydon
Stephanie_French, Elizabeth Rohatyn, and Peter N. Heydon.

William Wegman and Christine Burgin before the celebrated Frick Bellini
William Wegman and Christine Burgin before the celebrated Frick Bellini.

Thierry Millerand and Rosamond Bernier
Thierry Millerand and Rosamond Bernier.

Terry Elsberry,  Nancy Elsberry, Frick Chairman Margot Bogert and Frick Director Anne L. Poulet
Terry Elsberry, Nancy Elsberry, Frick Chairman Margot Bogert and Frick Director Anne L. Poulet.

Victoria Agnew and Julian Agnew
Victoria Agnew and Julian Agnew.

Joyce Cowin, Stanley D. Scott, and Elizabeth Scott
Joyce Cowin, Stanley D. Scott, and Elizabeth Scott.

Honoree Philippe de Montebello in the upstairs drawing room of the Frick mansion with Director Anne L. Poulet during the VIP cocktail
Honoree Philippe de Montebello in the upstairs drawing room of the Frick mansion with Director Anne L. Poulet during the VIP cocktail.

Elizabeth Rohatyn and Felix Rohatyn
Elizabeth Rohatyn and Felix Rohatyn.

Photos: Images 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 15-17, 20: Mary Hilliard.
Images 3, 5, 6, 8, 11-14, 18, 19, 21: Christine A. Butler
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