From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Timepieces Take a Turn at the Frick Collection

MOST READ
David Lynch Transcendental Meditation Interview

Self-Care

The Deep Dive

A light conversation with David Lynch on Transcendental Meditation, the unified...

Tonga Room, San Francisco.

Wine and Spirits

The Sweet Escape

On the enduring allure of the tiki bar.

The Hoodie of the Future

Fashion

The Hoodie of the Future

British clothier Vollebak makes garments for today’s superhero.

Courtesy of The Frick Collection

Horology, the art of making clocks and watches, has long fascinated collectors. “Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at the Frick Collection,” which opened this week at the New York museum, perpetuates the allure, exhibiting some of the world’s finest examples of craftsmanship and delicate engineering. On view through February 2014 in the Frick’s glass-enclosed portico gallery, the exhibition is a rare opportunity to enjoy the beauty, breadth and depth of the museum’s horological holdings. “Clocks and watches are exciting works of art,” says curator Charlotte Vignon. “Although they functioned as objects, the cases housing the mechanisms offered artisans almost unlimited opportunity to explore forms, ornaments and designs.”

Twenty-five of the timepieces featured belong to the Frick and range in date from the Renaissance to the early 19th century; five outstanding examples of 18th-century French clocks join them, on loan from Horace Wood Brock, a renowned American decorative-arts collector.

Vignon, a Sorbonne-trained decorative-arts specialist, immersed herself in the collection’s history in preparation for her first exhibit of mechanical timepieces. The groundbreaking designs of famed clockmakers Robert Robin and Abraham-Louis Breguet, for instance, evolved the accuracy and reliability of time measurement and contributed to the advancement of scientific revolution. “One of my favorites is the work of David Weber, a young clockmaker in Augsburg in the mid 17th century,” says Vignon. “Its complex mechanism includes seven dials that provide astronomical, calendrical and horary information.”

Almost all of the timepieces in the showcase still work—including two clocks that will chime on the hour—providing further evidence of the achievements of these gifted craftsmen. Through February 4, 2014; 1 East 70th St.; frick.org.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.