Acquiring the Collection

room with desk, chairs, paintings in panels, glass case

Mrs. Frick's Boudoir (as installed on the second floor), 1927

interior with staircase to left and archway over doors to outside

Entrance Hall (now known as the East Vestibule), 1927

interior with sofa and two plush chairs, fireplace, lamps

Helen Clay Frick's library, One East 70th Street.

interior with chairs at table in center, fireplace

Breakfast Room, One East 70th Street.

hallway with chairs, small tables, sconces, paintings

Second floor hall, One East 70th Street.

interior with bed near curtain, chairs of varying sizes

Adelaide Frick's bedroom, One East 70th Street.

interior with bed and two plush chairs at fireplace

Helen Clay Frick's bedroom, One East 70th Street.

interior with bed with canopy, chandelier, dresser and mirror

Henry Clay Frick's bedroom, One East 70th Street.

interior with books on desk, tables, chairs, piano

Henry Clay Frick's sitting room, One East 70th Street.

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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).

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