Conservation of Fifth Avenue Garden Urns

Two massive Tennessee marble urns flank the large staircase of the Frick mansion's front façade on Fifth Avenue. The urns were part of the original design by Carrère & Hastings for the "furnishing and setting of the limestone and marble work of the grounds"; this included the front terrace, the balustrades, and six marble seats. As with the rest of the house, there were very specific instructions on the materials to be used in creating these urns, including an additional cost for plaster models.

Fragonard Room Lighting

During the summer of 2007, an innovative new lighting system was installed in the Fragonard Room to illuminate to its best advantage the bold palette Jean-Honoré Fragonard used in creating his masterful ensemble, The Progress of Love.

The project, which took four months to complete, upgraded the gallery’s sixty-year-old lighting system. Though state of the art when it was installed in 1947, the system had a narrow color spectrum and provided an uneven distribution of light.


The Conservation Department currently hosts a summer intern each year. The focus is geared toward the preservation issues associated with the care of the collection and historic mansion. The intern works with the furniture and objects conservator, as well as the conservation and gallery technicians, on a project basis. Please click on the link below for up-to-date information on available internships and the application process.

First Enamel Conservation Symposium Held in U.S.

Experts’ Meeting on Enamel on Metal Conservation
October 8 and 9, 2010

Academic Programs

The Conservation Department provides information on technical studies and conservation and preservation issues, by developing symposia, working with interns, and lecturing at seminars and conferences.


The Conservation Department conducts surveys of specific collections, such as frames or enamels, in order to gather detailed information and document the condition of these objects. This information is combined with historical material and included in an up-to-date database. These surveys assist in prioritizing the conservation needs of the Collection.

To learn more about recent surveys carried out at the Frick, click on the images below.

Historic Preservation

Conservation is involved in various aspects of the historic preservation of the Frick mansion, including both outdoor and interior decorative elements and structures, lighting, fabric, and display, and in remodeling projects in the galleries.

To learn more about historic preservation at the Frick, click on the images below.

Technical Study and Research

The Conservation and Curatorial departments are currently working on the technical study of two French objects in The Frick Collection: Dressoir with Harpy Supports, Terms, and Strapwork Reliefs and the bronze sculpture Angel by Jean Barbet.

Analysis and research are being carried out to help us understand the method of fabrication, surface treatment, and previous conservation, as well as assist with dating the works. These types of studies are a collaborative effort between scholars, curators, scientists, and conservators.


Relevant Publications

Joseph Godla, Conservator, The Frick Collection, "Jean-Henri Riesner, Cabinetmaker to King Louis XVI," The Frick Collection Members’ Magazine, vol. 6, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2006): 7–9.

Silver-Gilt Objects

Silver is a noble metal, and its physical properties, such as malleability, corrosion resistance, color, and luster, have been exploited for centuries. It typically appears white and shiny but will tarnish quickly when exposed to air, initially turning yellow, then dark iridescent gray. The removal of tarnish requires polishing, either with abrasives or chemical dissolution, which can remove fine detail or plating through repeated use. To minimize the effects of this treatment, museums typically exhibit silver objects in cases designed to reduce exposure to atmospheric pollution.