Link to video of Arthur Wheelock lecture

At the end of the nineteenth century, Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring sold for a pittance, an unknown work by an artist who was only beginning to achieve recognition. Today it is revered as a great masterpiece, so famous that it is recognizable by its title alone, with the name of its maker being almost superfluous. This lecture examines the reasons this image resonates so profoundly with contemporary audiences.

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


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

Vermeer Girl Interrupted

Frick’s purchase of Portrait of a Young Artist ushered in a new phase of his collecting, which had previously focused on French academic and Barbizon painters. Just two years later, in 1901, Frick acquired Vermeer’s Girl Interrupted at Her Music






Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Girl Interrupted at Her Music, c. 1658-59






Rembrandt Portrait Young Artist

The Frick Collection contains exceptional Dutch works of its own, including three Vermeers and three Rembrandts, along with works by Hals, Cuyp, Hobbema, and Wouwerman. Henry Clay Frick's acquisition of Old Master paintings began with Rembrandt and ended with Vermeer. Frick acquired the Portrait of a Young Artist (now attributed to a follower of Rembrandt) through Arthur Tooth & Sons in 1899.




Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Follower of) (1606 - 1669), Portrait of a Young Artist, 1650s




Dordrecht: Sunrise

Almost forty years later, Helen Clay Frick, Mr. Frick's daughter, visited the Netherlands again, this time compiling a detailed scrapbook describing her trip. On September 15, 1932, she passed through Dordrecht, the subject of a Cuyp painting in her father's collection.




Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691), Dordrecht: Sunrise, c. 1650