175,000 New Photoarchive Records Available Digitally

In February 2021, the Frick Art Reference Library announced the completion of a massive, three-year project to digitize the library’s historic Photoarchive collection. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative has made records and images for more than 175,000 works of art available in the Frick Digital Collections, NYARC Discovery, and the library’s online catalog, joining the 184,000 records which have already been made available digitally. This project offers unprecedented access to Photoarchive materials, allowing researchers across the globe to view and download the library’s unique holdings.

What’s New

Now available to researchers are all of the “Classified” or fully cataloged materials. These photographs are mounted on 9 x 12 inch gray cardboard and are assigned a unique call number based on subject matter. These mounts contain detailed provenance and attribution histories for each work of art they document. In addition to high resolution images for each work of art, all accompanying documentation has been digitized, giving researchers full access that was previously only available onsite at the library.

Image comparison in three frames of a work of art depicting a female performer in the air in a theatre
Screenshot of options on digitalcollections.frick.org, using a detail of Edgar Degas’s Study for “Miss Lala.”

Using Digital Collections

The Frick Digital Collections site, accessible at digitalcollections.frick.org, is the repository for all of the Frick Art Reference Library’s digital materials. Here, Photoarchive materials are available under the “Photoarchive” tab at the top of the screen. This module allows users to filter by national school, artist, current location, or classification heading, just as the Photoarchive materials were organized physically. It also mimics the features of the analog Photoarchive experience by permitting researchers to select groups of images and compare them. A banner at the bottom of the screen shows all selected images and allows for comparison and download. All of the newly uploaded images are accompanied by complete metadata.

Screenshot of Digital Collections; selecting images including painting of a woman with theatre binoculars
Screenshot of comparison of images on digitalcollections.frick.org, using a detail of Mary Cassatt’s At The Opera.

It is the library’s hope that researchers all over the globe will make use of the Photoarchive’s expanded digital holdings. We look forward to hearing about how people use the materials and hope that they will inform more long-term scholarly research. For more information about using the Frick Digital Collections, please watch this webinar conducted by Photoarchive staff last year. Stay tuned for more information about Photoarchive materials and research, and feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback at photoarchive@frick.org.

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