Steve Schwarzman, chief executive officer and chairman of the Blackstone Group, last night dined on lamb and barley risotto in the West Gallery of the Frick Collection, facing a self-portrait by Rembrandt.
Next to him was the Frick’s head of education, Rika Burnham; his wife, Christine, sat across the table, with the director of the museum, Ian Wardropper, and deputy director Colin Bailey, enjoying from afar a harbor scene by J.M.W. Turner.
The occasion was the museum’s annual Autumn Dinner, and most of the 250 guests, including Blair Effron of Centerview Partners LLC and Jean-Marie Eveillard of First Eagle Investment Management LLC, had prime views. Those in the Oval Room dined amid Whistlers, others were with El Grecos in the East Gallery. The evening, with tickets ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 each, raised $1,050,000 for the museum.
The event honored Henry Arnhold, 91, who followed his parents in collecting Meissen produced by the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Dresden, Germany. During the cocktail hour, he strolled the Portico Gallery, where 65 objects from his collection are on view, such as a pair of bird-cage vases from the collection of the king of Italy.
“I enjoy it every time I see it,” Arnhold said, right after Judy Dimon, wife of Jamie Dimon, planted a kiss on his cheek. “You can argue I’m unhappy because I don’t have it at home, but here it is so beautifully exhibited, I get pleasure. And now that it can be seen, it will benefit not only the Meissen factory but also will be good for Dresden, where I was born.”
Wardropper in a brief address to guests recalled that when he was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as chairman of the department of European sculpture and decorative arts, trustees prodded him about obtaining Arnhold’s trove.
“Imagine my astonishment when a much smaller museum down the street opened the Portico Gallery to display his collection,” Wardropper said, crediting his predecessor, Anne Poulet, for the feat. “I had no choice but to follow the Arnhold collection down the street.”
The dinner took place at tables covered in gold cloth. Pears, persimmons and sliced-open papayas full of black seeds rested on fuchsia velvet runners along with arrangements of pink and orange dahlias and fall foliage, evoking still lifes. Guest J. Tomilson Hill of Blackstone Group particularly appreciated the Italian Renaissance bronzes on display.
“Where else but the Frick can you have dinner surrounded by artistic grandeur and beauty?” Arnhold said.
Composer Gabriel Kahane gathered a few inhabitants of “February House” around a grand piano to celebrate the new cast album of his musical, set in 1940s Brooklyn.
Kahane and company sang several songs from the show, among them “Wanderlust,” a quartet that included Stanley Bahorek as the composer Benjamin Britten, Ken Barnett as the singer Peter Pears, Stephanie Hayes as the journalist Erika Mann and Kristen Sieh as the writer Carson McCullers.
Period drinks and food (Spam!) fueled the party at the Central Park West house of Bloomberg Muse executive editor Manuela Hoelterhoff.
Downtown at Joe’s Pub, Lapham’s Quarterly hosted a politics-themed show of readings and song.
No peace, no sex was the message of the fed up women in “Lysistrata,” read by Ari Graynor, Katherine Waterston and Emily Young. Justin Levine performed the Phil Ochs ditty “Love Me, I’m a Liberal,” with the audience singing along. And Oliver Platt read from H.L. Mencken’s “The Politician,” noting that the truth gives voters a headache.
Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, was clear on who he’s voting for. “If Obama doesn’t win, I’m going to kill myself,” Eustis said.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Philip Boroff on theater and Jeffrey Burke on books.
To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @amandagordon.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at email@example.com.