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All Things Dutch: Frick Family's Travels to the Netherlands and Acquisitions of Works by Rembrandt and Vermeer

From October 2013 through January 2014, one of Vermeer's most famous paintings, Girl with a Pearl Earring, was on view at The Frick Collection. That work, along with paintings by Rembrandt, Fabritius, and others, were on loan from the Mauritshuis in the Netherlands, which is currently undergoing renovation.

West Gallery Rembrandt

During Frick’s lifetime, the Rembrandt paintings were hung together on the north wall of the West Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

West Gallery, Frick Residence, 1927

 

 

 

 

 

West Gallery Vermeer

The three Vermeer paintings were hung in close proximity to one another along the same wall of the West Gallery.

Unfortunately, there were no photographs taken of the Frick Residence before Frick's death in 1919; however, these photographs taken in 1927 reflect the Frick residence as it was during his lifetime.

 

West Gallery, Frick Residence, 1927

 

Diary 4

By August, Frick owned the painting. When it arrived in the United States, Frick brought it to his summer house in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts, so that he could enjoy it until the family returned to New York in the fall.




New York household diary, August 13, 1919. One East 70th Street Papers, Series: Daily Life

Diary 3

But within days, the Vermeer was offered for sale at 650,000 florins, or $263,000 (the diary entry incorrectly gives the amount at 650 florins).





New York household diary, March 31, 1919.  One East 70th Street Papers, Series: Daily Life

Diary 2

One month later, the acquisition was still uncertain.






New York household diary, March 28, 1919. One East 70th Street Papers, Series: Daily Life

Diary 1

Of all the above acquisitions, only the final one, Mistress and Maid, was purchased while Frick lived at One East 70th Street, now home to The Frick Collection. Diaries maintained by Frick’s secretary at that house tell the story of Frick’s pursuit of the painting, which began in late February 1919.



New York household diary, February 27, 1919. One East 70th Street Papers, Series: Daily Life

Vermeer Invoice

M. Knoedler & Co. invoice for Vermeer’s Officer and Laughing Girl purchased by Henry Clay Frick on November 13, 1911, for $225,000. Bill Book No. 1, Henry Clay Frick Art Collection Files

Rembrandt Invoice

Both of these artists figured into later acquisitions (Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait and Polish Rider, 1906 and 1910, and Vermeer’s Officer and Laughing Girl, 1911) culminating with Frick’s final purchase, Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid in 1919.



M. Knoedler & Co. invoice for Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait purchased by Henry Clay Frick on December 31, 1906 for $225,000. Bill Book No. 1, Henry Clay Frick Art Collection Files

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