November 26, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - , No comments

Donna Tartt's novel 'Goldfinch' endangers Carel Fabritius painting while NYC exhibits the masterpiece at The Frick

The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius,
1654 (Courtesy of The Frick)
Horror writer Stephen King reviewed Donna Tartt's Goldfinch (Little, Brown & Company, October 2013) in The New York Times last month, calling the 771-page novel "a rarity":
“The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do.
The story involves a terrorist bombing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, King writes:
Of course, all this is an alternate history (or a secret history, if you prefer). No such bombing ever happened, and the painting that a dazed and frightened Theo spirits out of the wreckage — “The Goldfinch,” made in 1654 by Carel Fabritius — was never stolen. It resides in the Royal Picture Gallery [Mauritshuis] of The Hague. This in no way spoils Tartt’s charmed narrative, which follows 10 years of Theo’s adventures.
Through January 19, The Goldfinch is visiting New York City as part of the Frick's exhibition "Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis". Here at WNYC News "Art Talk: New Yorkers Are Obsessed With This Teeny Tiny Bird":
Record crowds are flocking to the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side to see a small painting of a bird created almost 400 years ago. That's because "The Goldfinch," painted by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius in 1654, inspired Donna Tartt's new novel of the same name. According to the museum, a record 61,000 visitors have come to see the Dutch painting exhibit in which it is featured. But does this bird deserve that much buzz?  "Definitely," said WNYC’s art critic Deborah Solomon in this interview. "I love that the novel is drawing so much attention to this most worthy, but unassuming and humble, masterpiece." Solomon explained that The Goldfinch influenced Johannes Vermeer when he was creating a much more famous Dutch painting, "The Girl With a Pearl Earring," which is also now at the Frick. "You have to go see it to believe it," she said.