When I visited the Frick Collection earlier this week, I think I was the only art gawker who did not have the audio-tour guide pressed to the side of my head. I kind of hate listening into teeny-tiny electronic devices and I kind of hate tours, so at art museums I tend to wander around among the pictures and sculptures and gilt couches while learning no facts about anything. At the Frick, however, my free ears and random progression through the galleries seemed to attract the attention of the guards, who kept talking to me. One even brought me over to look at his favorite paintings: "Look! These Veronese! This man that the artist paints, you see? He is Strength! And the lady, she is Beauty! Ah! Look! You see?" His delight was delightful.
I spent a long time standing in front of Rembrandt's The Polish Rider, writing down the idle thoughts that came into my head: what thoughts the colors and shapes were triggering, why the emaciation of the horse disturbed me, what was going on in the paintings in other parts of the enormous room. And at the same time I could not stop thinking, "All of this was purchased by a boy from Scottdale, Pennsylvania."
H. C. Frick Coke Company mines, c. 1936