The Frick Collection 80th Anniversary

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Celebration Included a Day of Pay-What-You-Wish Admission, Free Programming, and a New Publication 

logo for the 80th Anniversary of the Frick Collection 1935-2015Eighty years ago, The Frick Collection opened its doors to the public, thereby fulfilling the aim of Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) to present to New York City his extraordinary art collection and magnificent mansion. The museum’s opening was accompanied by national headlines, and social and political luminaries attended the inaugural celebration. Decades later, the museum remains one of New York City’s cultural treasures, famed for its unique ambiance and masterpieces by Bellini, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, El Greco, Holbein, Houdon, Ingres, Rembrandt, Renoir, Turner, Vermeer, Whistler, and others. Members of the public also enjoy acclaimed special exhibitions and related publications, diverse education programs, concerts, and the riches of the Frick Art Reference Library. To mark this milestone, the Frick offered a day of Pay-What-You-Wish admission and free programming on December 16, 2015, the anniversary of the museum’s public opening in 1935.

Visitors had access to the permanent collection, as well as the acclaimed special exhibition Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, the first major monographic show on the artist to be hosted in the United States. The exhibition explores the important role drawings played in Andrea’s paintings and sheds new light on his creative process. Also on view is From Sèvres to Fifth Avenue: French Porcelain at The Frick Collection. This exhibition marks the first time in 35 years that the museum has shown these objects together and explores the role that Sèvres porcelain played in eighteenth-century France as well as during the American Gilded Age. 

New Publication Highlights Director’s Permanent Collection Favorites

book cover showing oil painting by Veronese of a man and two womenIn anticipation of this milestone, the Frick has published The Frick Collection: Director’s Choice, featuring highlights from the museum’s holdings selected by Ian Wardropper. The book includes masterpieces by Bellini, Fragonard, El Greco, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Whistler, as well as superb examples of French eighteenth-century furniture, Italian Renaissance bronzes, and Limoges enamels. It caps off a remarkable year of publications related to the permanent collection. Other titles published in 2015 include In a New Light: Giovanni Bellini’s “St. Francis in the Desert” (February; published in association with D Giles Ltd.), a substantial volume on one of the Frick's most beloved pictures in the permanent collection; The Frick Collection: Decorative Arts Handbook (June; published in association with Scala), the first handbook devoted to the museum’s decorative arts; and Limoges Enamels at The Frick Collection (September; D Giles Ltd.), also written by Frick Director Ian Wardropper. All titles can be purchased in the Frick Museum Shop or online at 

Frick Art Reference Library Celebrated an Anniversary in 2015

The Frick Art Reference Library was founded in 1920 by Henry Clay Frick’s daughter, Helen, and is home to one of the world’s greatest art research collections. It was greatly expanded and moved into a new building adjacent to the original Frick mansion the year the museum opened in 1935. Designed by John Russell Pope, the six-story French Revival building boasted many innovative features for its day, including air-conditioned stacks and dumb-waiters to move books between floors in conjunction with a Telautograph system. See the history of the library for more information on the Frick Art Reference Library.


In celebration of the 80th anniversary, Philippe de Montebello hosted the November 12, 2015 episode from The Frick Collection.

Link to full episode on NYC-ARTS.

Watch on Youtube

Program of Events (PDF)

Video Online: The Frick Turns 80

Director, Ian Wadropper promoting his lecture on history of the Frick Collection

Slideshow and Essay: Frick after Frick

still of painting of Henry Clay Frick promoting slideshow and essay about the Frick Collection after his death

Educational Display: From Mansion to Museum

archival photo of garden court promoting educational display

eBook: Legacy of Beauty

Media Timeline: 80 Years of the Frick Art Reference Library

screenshot of media timeline and timeline of the Frick Art Reference Library

Virtual Tour: Library

photo of library promoting virtual tour

Museum Shop Offerings

photo of books, hat, mug and other items promoting museum shop

Anniversary Year Publications

photo of five art-related books promoting anniversary year publications

Other Resources

Timeline of Acquisitions

Visit the Archives

Connect and Interact


Finding Aids

The Frick Collection Records of the Organizing Director - Frederick Mortimer Clapp

The Frick Collection Construction Files

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