Norton Museum of Art receives major gift of historic prints

The Norton Museum of Art has received a transformative promised gift of almost 700 prints from the last 500 years from longtime Norton supporter Jonathan “Jack” Frost, featuring European and American printmakers such as Marc Chagall, Albrecht Dürer, Paul Gauguin, Hannah Höch, Franz Marc, Anthony Van Dyck, Rembrandt Van Rijn, and many more. Frost’s promised gift will increase the Norton’s holding of prints within the permanent collection by almost 40%, and will expand the Collection of European Art, specifically in the objects made between the 15th and the 18th centuries.

A selection of 75 works will be on view Saturday, April 20, to Sunday, August 11, 2024, in an exhibition titled The Paper Trail: 500 Years of Prints from the Jonathan “Jack” Frost Collection, featuring works by the artists mentioned, as well as François Boucher, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Henry Moore, Thomas Moran, and Lucas Van Leyden, among others. This is the first public showing of the Frost Collection.

Following the exhibition’s closing, almost 60 prints will immediately join the Norton’s Collection as gifts of art.

Frost first visited the Museum in the early 1980s; by the early 1990s, he was a regular patron, conducting research and gathering knowledge as he was starting to build his collection. Frost later joined the Norton’s Building and Grounds Committee in the early 2000s and served as a member for nearly eight years. As part of the committee, Frost was critical in supporting the Museum during the aftermath of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.

Thirty years after his first interactions with the Norton, Frost began conversations with Robert Evren, Consulting Curator for European Art, and Ellen Roberts, the former Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Senior Curator of American Art, about the eventual home for his print collection. 

“We are grateful to Jack Frost for this incredible promised gift that fills gaps in the Norton’s Collection of works on paper and greatly expands our holdings of European and American works, adding variety and breadth,” Ghislain d’Humières, Kenneth C. Griffin Director and CEO, said. “Throughout the years, Jack has carefully curated his collection to trace the history of printmaking in Europe and America, featuring both well- and little-known masters, as well as highly talented artists.” 

The Frost Collection

HENRI EDMOND CROSS (French, 1856 – 1910), 'La Promenade or Les Cypres,' 1896. Lithograph.
HENRI EDMOND CROSS (French, 1856 – 1910), ‘La Promenade or Les Cypres,’ 1896. Lithograph. Promised Gift of the Collection of Jonathan “Jack” Frost.

The Frost Collection is representative of a connected legacy between Frost and Dorothy Braude Edinburg, his muse in building the collection. Edinburg was a prominent collector-dealer, who worked closely with the Art Institute of Chicago on growing their print and drawings collection, eventually gifting nearly 800 artworks to the Institute.

She encouraged Frost to remain committed to collecting at least one significant print from each of the many notable peintres-graveurs – painters-engravers – a classification that came about in the late 18th century to finally demarcate the makers who saw printing as its own art form. With special attention to these artists, Frost compiled an extraordinarily broad collection that traces the art of Western printmaking through the centuries. 

The Paper Trail is organized chronologically and features lesser-known artists alongside the well-known printmakers. The exhibition will provide a broad survey of printmaking’s simultaneous developments across Europe and the United States, featuring works divided into five distinct artistic periods. Three basic types of printmaking will be on view, including relief (woodcuts), intaglio (engraving, etching, and drypoint), and planographic (lithography). 

Starting in the Renaissance, a period marked by the rapid growth of printmaking, featured works include the oldest print in the exhibition, the woodcut Die Gefangennahme Christi (The Taking of Christ), circa 1509 – 1511, by German artist Albrecht Dürer, who is credited with revolutionizing the printmaking process. Other works include engravings by the Dutch artist Lucas Van Leyden and Italian painter and engraver Antonio Tempesta. 

Works from the Baroque period include Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of Frans Snyders, circa 1630, and Rembrandt Van Rijn’s etching Man in Broad Brimmed Hat, 1638. Work by Dutch, Flemish, French, and Italian printmakers fill this section, showing the European reach of the art form. 

The Rococo and Neoclassicism section, illustrating highly decorative and ornamental tastes of the former, and a return to the more austere art forms in the latter, will feature Two Putti with a Bird, circa 1735, by François Boucher; a colorful engraving of a frog’s anatomy, by Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty; and the engraving Chiesa di S. Andrea della Valle, 1748, by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Landscape scenes, cityscapes, and images of animals are highlights in this section.

Prints from the 1800s, encompassing Realism through Impressionism, will showcase works such as William Blake’s Frontispiece for Job: Also the Lord Accepted Job – And my Servant Job shall pray for you, 1825; Edward Manet’s Jeanne, also known as Le Printemps (Spring), 1882; and Thomas Moran’s The Much Resounding Sea, 1886. La Ronde Gauloise (The Gallic Round), 1857, by early Impressionist Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, and Baigneuses Bretonnes (Breton Bathers), 1889, by Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin are also among the prominent works.

The exhibition ends in the 20th century with works by Modern artists, such as the color woodcut Monterey Cypress, 1932–1936, by Gustave Baumann; linocut Straße in Berlin (Street in Berlin), 1912, by Hannah Höch; and color etching Two Seated Figures, 1970, by Henry Moore, the latest work in the exhibition, among others. The section features prints by American, British, Dutch, French, and German artists, highlighting the global reach of the artform and the span of Frost’s collection. 

“I have been honored to be involved with the renowned Norton Museum of Art in a variety of ways for nearly four decades now, and I have long felt that the Museum would be the perfect place for my collection. It is like a home away from home,” Frost said. “I am eager for the Norton’s visitors to discover this storied portion of the collection that I have devoted many years to building.” 

The exhibition is organized by Robert Evren, Consulting Curator for European Art, with J. Rachel Gustafson, Chief Curatorial Operations & Research Officer, and Sarah Bass, Curatorial Operations Assistant, in collaboration with collector Jonathan “Jack” Frost.

ABOUT JACK FROST 

Jonathan “Jack” Frost is the President of Commerce Consulting, Inc., and has been involved in various business ventures, most of which have been related to real estate and construction. He is a Florida Certified General Contractor and a Florida Registered Real Estate Broker. He has a B.A in economics from Harvard College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. 

Frost has volunteered for many community organizations, most recently serving as an officer and on the boards of the South Florida Fair, Good Samaritan Medical Center, the West Palm Beach Police Pension Fund, the Law Enforcement Assistance Foundation, and as a member of Leadership Palm Beach County’s Past Presidents’ Council. 

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