Acquiring the Collection

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Even as a young man, Frick was interested in pictures. In 1870 he applied for a loan of $10,000 from the bank of T. Mellon & Sons. The bank agent sent to investigate Frick’s reliability noted that Frick lived surrounded by prints and sketches, “some made by himself and all out of place in this half office and half living room in a clapboard shack.” Frick’s request to the bank was rejected, but for a second opinion Mellon sent a more open-minded mining partner, who granted the loan — though he noted that the applicant “may be a little too enthusiastic about pictures, but not enough to hurt.”

Frick collected for a span of more than forty years. His purchases included sculpture, drawings, prints, and decorative arts such as furniture, porcelains, enamels, rugs, and silver. He left 137 paintings on site at The Frick Collection. More than fifty additional paintings have been acquired over the years by the Trustees from an endowment provided by the founder and through gifts and bequests.

Source: Colin B. Bailey, Building The Frick Collection: An Introduction to the House and Its Collections. New York: The Frick Collection in association with Scala Publishers, 2006 (available from the Museum Shop).