“Gabriel de Saint-Aubin,” curated by Colin B. Bailey, Kim de Beaumont, and, from the Louvre, Pierre Rosenberg, and Christophe Leribault. Frick Collection, New York, NY. Through Jan. 27.
This exhibition includes fifty drawings and a few paintings and etchings that range in subject from ancient history to portraiture to the decorative arts, and include the images of contemporary Paris for which Saint-Aubin is best known. Ken Johnson reports in the NYTimes: “Because Saint-Aubin�s drawings are so unclassifiably diverse, it is easier to say what they are not than what they are. They are not romantically wistful like drawings by Watteau. They�re not solidly realistic like Chardin�s, morally instructive like Greuze�s or lubricious like Boucher�s. What his drawings have is a nonstop graphic liveliness, an extraordinarily sensuous way with materials and a hypersensitive alertness to the real world….Many of Saint-Aubin�s works are so subtly made and so full of minuscule details that they can be fully appreciated only with the help of magnifying glasses, which the Frick thoughtfully provides. Technique, however, is not the main attraction. The beauty of his work is not just in how tiny he could make things but also in how much formal, representational and poetic complexity he could compress onto a page….The delight he found in the act of drawing is still wonderfully infectious.” Read more.