Last Thursday night, the Frick Collection held its annual Autumn Dinner at the Frick mansion on Fifth Avenue and East 70th Street. This Dinner is a highlight of The Frick Collection’s social and fundraising calendar and is always an early sell-out. The festive black-tie evening is the only sit-down dinner held in the museum’s picture galleries, amid masterpieces dating from the Renaissance through the 19th century.
This year they honored Henry P. Johnson, a steadfast friend of the Frick and a loyal supporter of both the museum and library. For thirteen years, Mr. Johnson has championed the museum’s special exhibitions and the programs of the Center for the History of Collecting.
He is also a passionate supporter of arts and culture in greater New York and sits on the boards of the New York Botanical Garden, American Ballet Theatre, Vassar College, Greenwood Gardens, and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. In his business life, he is President of Northern Trust’s Wealth Management business in the eastern United States, overseeing twenty-eight offices from New England to Florida.
The evening began with a cocktail reception in the 1935 neoclassical Garden Court. Guests could explore the former residence of Henry Clay Frick which is now the core of the museum that houses his remarkable collection, including masterpieces by Bellini, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, Holbein, Ingres, Rembrandt, Turner, Velázquez, and Vermeer, among others; and French 18th-century furniture and Italian Renaissance bronzes.
Also on view at this time are the Frick’s current special exhibitions, The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos and Masterpieces of French Faience: Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection.
The highlight of the evening was a formal sit-down dinner in a series of contiguous, dramatically lit galleries catered brilliantly by Oliver Cheng Catering & Events. Banquet tables ran the length of the mansion’s West Gallery, where guests dined among works by Vermeer and Rembrandt. Those seated in the more intimate Oval Room found their round tables surrounded by full-length portraits by Whistler. Guests in the East Gallery dined among paintings by David, Goya, Van Dyck, and others.
Frick Chairman Betty Eveillard welcomed everyone from the podium in the West Gallery, and thanked guests for their generous support of the Frick and for joining the museum in celebrating the evening’s honoree, Mr. Johnson. After the main course, Frick trustee Margot Bogert and Frick Director Ian Wardropper toasted Johnson. Wardropper then presented him with a commemorative silver tray donated by Tiffany & Co.
Leadership in creating the evening were: Peter and Sofia Blanchard, Margot and Jerry Bogert, Alexandra Caroline Kittle, Larry Ross Milstein, Rochelle C. and Mark H. Rosenberg, and Sana H. Sabbagh.
Benefactors and Patrons were: Brad and Barbara Evans, Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard, Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Horvitz, Ingleside Investors, Susan and Henry P. Johnson, Sidney R. Knafel, Lydia and Eric Muller, Northern Trust, Dr. and Mrs. James S. Reibel, Louisa Stude Sarofim, Charlotte Textor, and Elaine and Donald Textor.
Photographs by Christine A. Butler & Max Lakner/BFA.com