Past Exhibition: From Mansion to Museum

From Mansion to Museum: The Frick Collection Celebrates Seventy-Five Years

June 22, 2010 to September 5, 2010

It was the desire of Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) that his extraordinary art collection and magnificent home at 1 East 70 Street be opened as a museum following his family's period of residence. After the death of his wife, Adelaide, in 1931, the mansion, built in 1913–14 by Thomas Hastings (1860–1929) of Carrère and Hastings, underwent further construction in order to transform it into a space suitable as a public institution. Significantly and sensitively expanded by architect John Russell Pope (1873–1937), the resulting building opened to a fascinated public on December 16, 1935 as The Frick Collection. To commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of that occasion, a selection of elegant elevations, executed for Pope by artist Angelo Magnanti (1879–1969), went on display in the Cabinet Gallery from June 22 through September 5, 2010.

Never before shown at The Frick Collection, these large-scale illustrations were a gift to the museum's first director, Frederick Mortimer Clapp (1879–1969). They offer insights into Pope's vision for the series of new rooms that have since become beloved galleries and contemplative spaces. Also included in the display was a newly acquired pen and ink drawing by Vernon Howe Bailey (1874–1953) depicting the construction of the Frick Art Reference Library at 10 East 71 Street, designed by Pope in 1933. Bailey's drawing was commissioned by The New York Sun for its daily feature, "Intimate Sketches of New York City," and appeared in the April 23, 1934 issue. A floor plan accompanied by archival and new photography elucidated the most significant alterations to The Frick Collection's interior and, together with the drawings, told the story of the once-private mansion's transformation into a public museum.

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