“The Frick presents the first monographic exhibition devoted to one of the important figures of eighteenth-century Italian decorative arts, Luigi Valadier (1726–1785). He was a talented draftsman, designer, goldsmith, silversmith, and bronze founder, using precious stones as well as enamel, wood and glass, to create whimsical and elegant works of art for noble clients. Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome highlights Valadier’s oeuvre, presenting more than fifty objects as well as drawings that represent 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 as well as private collections in Europe and the United States.
As with the Frick’s highly acclaimed 2016 exhibition on Pierre Gouthière, this project allows the broader public to enjoy a much-needed study of a significant figure in the decorative arts whose imagination and skills made him one of the soaring figures in his time. In this case, the subject is Roman rather than Parisian, and 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 Frick Collection
Luigi Valadier. Herm of Bacchus, 1773. Bronze, alabastro a rosa, bianco e nero antico, and africano verde. H. 68 7⁄8 inches. Galleria Borghese, Rome. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. Herm of Bacchus (detail), 1773. Bronze, alabastro a rosa, bianco e nero antico, and africano verde. H. 68 7⁄8 inches. Galleria Borghese, Rome. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. Table with Dodecagonal Porphyry Top (one of two), 1773. Giallo antico, portasanta, bianco e nero antico, gilt wood, gilt bronze, and porphyry. 36 5⁄8 × 55 1⁄8 × 34 5⁄8 inche. Galleria Borghese, Rome. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. Caddinet (cadenas) with the Coat of Arms of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, ca. 1785. Gilt silver. 4 x 14 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches. Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
Luigi Valadier. Clock for Don Abbondio Rezzonico, 1765–70. Gilt bronze, shagreen, and other materials. Clock: 26 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches. Bracket: 12 5/8 x 13 3/8 x 8 5/8 inches. Private Collection
Luigi Valadier. Casket (cantinetta) for Wine Bottles with the Coat of Arms of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, before 1788. Gilt silver, 13 × 13 3⁄8 × 9 inches. Giordano Art Collections, Italy
Luigi Valadier. St. Louis, ca. 1773. Silver and gilt metal, 48 × 13 × 15 inches. Cathedral of Santa Maria la Nuova, Monreale. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. St. Rosalia, ca. 1773. Gilt bronze and silver, 42 1⁄8 × 13 × 15 inches. Cathedral of Santa Maria la Nuova, Monreale. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. Egyptian Clock, 1785. Hardstones, various marbles, gilt bronze, and mosaic. 24 3/4 x 14 1/8 x 9 1/2 inches. Private Collection. Photo: Mauro Magliani
Luigi Valadier. The Triumph of Bacchus, 1780. Agate, alabaster, ancient hardstones, ancient glass paste, gold, gilt metal, and gilt bronze. 24 3/4 x 25 x 6 1/8 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. Photo: Les frères Chuzeville
Luigi Valadier. Reduction of the Temple of Mercury, ca. 1778. Lapis lazuli, amethyst, garnet, red porphyry, portasanta, green porphyry, and gilt bronze. 17 7/8 x 17 3/8 inches. Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid
The exhibition is curated by Alvar González-Palacios, who has dedicated most of his life to scholarship on the artist and is considered its foremost expert.
Images courtesy The Frick Collection.