A 1956 letter written by Ms. Freilicher to Frank O’Hara, who celebrated her in his acclaimed “Jane” poems, initiated various plans to get together, beginning: “Dear Frankie, I was utterly delighted to get your cuddlesome letter. Perhaps you don’t know how much I’m missing you but it is quite a tel’ble lot. It is a terrible thing being the Adlai Stevenson of the art world without a Young Democrat like you by my side.”
This relationship [with John Ashbery], and the others that grew from it, are the subject of “Jane Freilicher: Painter Among Poets,” an exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in Midtown, a show that places Ms. Freilicher’s work in the context of her exalted status among the poets of the New York School — Mr. Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, James Schuyler — to whom she was muse, confidante, beloved brain. “One doesn’t stay friends with somebody for 40 years unless they have a lot of nice qualities, such as brilliance,” Mr. Ashbery wrote two decades ago. “Jane Freilicher is also the wittiest person I have ever known.”
By implication, the show is an exercise in anthropology as well, an exploration of an ever-receding way of social life among successful creative people in the city, one in which the friendships built and circles configured seemed more firmly rooted in genuine affection, in affinity, in shared notions of whimsy, than in the prospect of mutual professional advantage.
From Gina Bellafante in "Jane Freilicher: A Painter amid Friends," a review of Freilicher's latest show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, The New York Times, May 25, 2013.