Open to the public since 1935, The Frick Collection provides intimate encounters with one of the world’s foremost collections of European fine and decorative arts, with masterworks ranging from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. The Frick was founded by the American industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who left his art collection and Gilded Age residence for the enjoyment of the public. The Frick Art Reference Library, a leading art history research center, was founded by Henry Clay Frick’s daughter, Helen Clay Frick (1888–1984), more than a century ago. To better serve a twenty-first-century audience, The Frick Collection’s historic buildings are currently undergoing their first comprehensive renovation and enhancement in nearly ninety years.

The Frick houses a permanent collection of approximately 1,800 works of fine and decorative art, with less than half coming from the original bequest of Henry Clay Frick and the remaining works from subsequent acquisitions by purchase and donation. Over the past twenty-five years, the Frick has strengthened its holdings through the acquisition of works from major private collections. These include major gifts of clocks and watches, Meissen and Du Paquier porcelain, French faience, European portrait medals, and drawings and pastels.

The historic Frick mansion was commissioned by Henry Clay Frick in 1913 from the architecture firm Carrère and Hastings. Frick always envisioned the building would become a public resource dedicated to “encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects,” as he wrote in his will. After Frick’s death in 1919, a Board of Trustees was established to fulfill his wish. In 1931, architect John Russell Pope was engaged to expand and adapt the building into a museum. He created a series of main-floor galleries, program spaces, an entrance hall, and the interior Garden Court. Pope also designed an adjacent building on East 71st Street to house the Frick Art Reference Library. The new museum and purpose-built library building opened in 1935.

To accommodate the institution’s growth, the Frick built a two-story pavilion in 1977 and introduced the 70th Street Garden, with landscape design by Russell Page. Another smaller expansion was completed in 2011 to create the Portico Gallery, offering views of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s Fifth Avenue Garden, which is original to the house.

The current renovation and enhancement project responds to the continued growth of The Frick Collection’s audiences, collections, and programmatic offerings, while maintaining the intimate experience for which the museum is known. While closed for renovation, the Frick temporarily relocated five blocks north to Frick Madison, in the iconic Marcel Breuer–designed building, which was open to the public from March 18, 2021, through March 3, 2024. The Frick is anticipated to reopen in its revitalized home on East 70th Street in late 2024.

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