Frick Art Reference Library Photoarchive Records Now Accessible Online

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photo of The Frick Art Reference Library small reading room, with patrons at computers at tables


Scholars in multiple disciplines around the world have 
long heralded the Photoarchive of the Frick Art Reference 
Library as uniquely valuable to research that relates to 
object-oriented study of works of art. Without this 
repository of an estimated 1.2 million images of works 
created by more than 40,000 artists, curators, art dealers, 
and authors of monographic catalogues would be hard 
pressed to find visual documentation of unpublished art
and the preparatory studies, versions, copies, or forgeries 
that relate to those and even to more famous works. In 
recent years, the Frick’s Photoarchive has also played a key role in helping researchers compile 
provenance information about art looted during World War II. Lynn Nicholas, the highly respected 
author of The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World 
War (New York, 1994), recently noted that “to do provenance research, of course, one of the very first 
places to go is the Frick...” Until now, online access to these valuable resources has been limited to 
searches for the artists’ files, the results of which indicate the amount of material the Photoarchive has for 
a given artist, but no specific information about individual works of art. For that, researchers had to visit 
the Library premises, and manually browse the photographs stored on file