Masterpiece in Residence: Velázquez’s King Philip IV of Spain from The Frick Collection
Recently the Meadows Museum launched its Masterpiece in Residence loan program, which brings singular, exemplary works of Spanish art within American collections to the Meadows for deep examination within the context of its world-renowned collection. The first loan of the series was Juan Sánchez Cotán’s Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber from the San Diego Museum of Art, which was exhibited at the Meadows for the first time in spring 2022. This fall, the series continues with the installation of a similarly rare and significant painting: King Philip IV of Spain (1644) by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599–1660), on loan from The Frick Collection in New York. This unusual loan of one of Henry Clay Frick’s favorite works is the painting’s first visit to the Meadows, and to the state of Texas.
Nicknamed the “Fraga Philip” because it was painted during Philip’s encampment at Fraga during his conquest of the French-controlled city of Lérida in 1644, this portrait encapsulates both his patronage of the arts as well as his military conquests—the king brought Velázquez and other members of the court along with the army on this campaign. The visually arresting portrait, featuring a highly decorated sobreveste, was quickly composed in a makeshift studio and commemorates a pivotal moment in Spanish history.
The portrait will be presented within the context of the museum’s own masterpieces by Velázquez, which trace the artist’s development from his arrival in Madrid in the early 1620s to his return from Italy, and the influence of Titian, during the middle of the century. As with each Masterpiece in Residence loan, the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with a single, focused essay by a noted scholar of Spanish art. Masterpiece in Residence: Velázquez’s King Philip IV of Spain from The Frick Collection will be authored by Giles Knox, Associate Professor of Art History in the Indiana University College of Arts + Sciences.
This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and is funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.