The Girl with a Pearl

The Frick was the New York hot spot on a very chilly Sunday morning, when hundreds of people lined up for a last chance to see the Dutch Masters before they returned to Holland. Queues shivered in either direction from the main entrance on East 70th Street as museum members lined to the east and the mob to the west. Spots were held as people dashed for coffee, and the conversation between strangers, and the camaraderie that ensued, confirms that NYC is still the best place in the world to wait in line. It took us nearly two hours to make the entrance, and worth every minute.

The Girl with a Pearl had a room to herself, appropriate for her iconic status and the crowds wanting to see her.  A respectful shuffling gradually enabled everyone to move to the front for a personal audience, where the beauty of the art – and her gaze – was mesmerizing. Vermeer is known for his light, and the fact that his muse is anonymous and the painter died in debt and unrecognized, somehow adds to the purity of the painting. In the next room Fabritius’ small painting of a gold finch was causing a similar rapture, where readers of the Donna Tartt best seller were contributing to record crowds at the Museum.

My curiosity about the mechanics of hanging a priceless work like the Girl with a Pearl was well met by one of the ‘ask me’ volunteers. She explained that the curators have a mini styrofoam mockup of the gallery with velcro positioning that allows them to ‘hang’ the painting in various places and make adjustments before actually bringing in the real art. Because the painting is fortified behind two layers of plexiglass in a boxed structure, it is incredibly heavy, and as such becomes the responsibility of a strong handyman to put the piece on the wall. What a claim to fame. The man with a masterpiece. The Girl with a Pearl.

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8 Responses to The Girl with a Pearl

  1. Joy Stapleton says:

    I love that in this sometimes very cynical world crowds of people would enjoy and show a common respect for something so simply beautiful.

  2. Dallas Colley says:

    I am so envious however I am pleased you have viewed this wonderful painting, Peter Greenaway produced an opera ‘Waiting for Veneer’ and itwas the opening event for the Adelaide Festival sometime around mid ninties it was a fantastic opera (you may remember it!) Also in 1999 Tracey Chevalier published her fictional historical novel Girl with a Pearl Earring. Than you for the great photos and your committment to ongoing to interesting and enjoyable blogs

  3. Tess says:

    Love listening to you when I am awake in the early hours of the morning! However, discovering your blog has been even better … I can get a Fitzy Fix when I feel like it and not just when I can’t sleep! Thanks Gabrielle. Tess

  4. Sue Farbenblum says:

    3 weeks ago I walked up 5th Ave and saw the banners of TGWTPE(the girl..) and as I have a copy hanging in my kitchen, and the queue was snaking back to the Central Park, I continued on my quest onward to the The Met,and never got back to the Frick; but your discription on Friday 3.30am. just wet my appetite and I realised the ommision. This week was my mother’s birthday and since we bought a classic Pie Book from Bubby’s,(down the steps from the High Line) Sour Cherry (latticed) pie was the birthday cake served up. Spreading the word of your blog, and enjoying every morsel with relish as I now can relate to most of the places you describe..Happy Birthday Gabrielle.

    • Thank you Sue. It is almost impossible to do everything in NYC and the queues can be as deterring as they are entertaining – especially when you only have a certain amount of time. So good on you for getting to the MET and the High Line. That pie sounds delicious – happy birthday to your Mum!

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