Landmarks Preservation Commission Approves Enclosure of Frick Portico to Create Gallery for Sculpture and Decorative Arts

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close up of model of the Portico Gallery

Visitors at The Frick Collection find it difficult to believe that the Garden Court—a signature gallery considered by many to be the heart of the former mansion—was never enjoyed by its original resident, industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919). Indeed, it was created by enclosing a former carriage-way roughly fifteen years after his death, when in the 1930s architect John Russell Pope undertook the conversion of the Frick family home into a public museum, nearly doubling its size. The presentation of works of art within the mansion never remained static either, as Frick was an extremely active collector through his final days. His taste broadened from paintings to include sculpture and decorative arts, and only a year after moving into the residence, he began discussions with his original architect, Thomas Hastings of Carrère and Hastings, asking him to draw up plans for an extension that included a gallery devoted to the display of sculpture. The Frick Collection now returns to that idea. On June 22, 2010, at a meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a plan was approved, as submitted, to enclose an underutilized portion of the property, the portico in the Fifth Avenue Garden, which is viewable from inside the house but not open to the general public.