Acclaimed "Cocktails with a Curator" Video Series Inspires Fall Publication

Book cover with black-and-white drawing of a man surrounded by plants with a red text box that reads "Cocktails with a Curator"

New York (June 22, 2022) —Based on the critically acclaimed video series of the same name, the new publication Cocktails with a Curator presents engaging histories of works of art at The Frick Collection paired with creatively inspired drinks. The book, to be released in the fall of 2022, offers a crash course in art history and a delightful introduction to the treasures of the esteemed New York museum.

A Webby Award honoree (the “Oscars of the Internet”), the Frick’s weekly YouTube program began as a means to stay connected with the public during the pandemic shutdown. It quickly became a global phenomenon, much talked about within and beyond the art world, accumulating more than 1.8 million views over some sixty-five thought-provoking and varied episodes. Each video, and correspondingly each chapter of the book, presents a fresh take on a highlight from the permanent collection, with personal and timely perspectives offered by the Frick’s dynamic curatorial team.

Paintings, sculpture, furniture, and porcelain—from the Middle Ages into the early twentieth century—are discussed for their exemplary features and fascinating backstories. Cocktails, with recipes, are thematically paired with the works: a Jaded Countess (absinthe, vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup) with Ingres’s portrait Comtesse d’Haussonville; a classic Pimm’s Cup with Gainsborough’s depiction of English beauty Grace Dalrymple Elliott; and a Bloody Mary (named after the last Catholic regnant queen of England) with Holbein’s painting of Sir Thomas More, who opposed the Reformation of Mary’s father, Henry VIII. The perfect addition to any art connoisseur’s library, Cocktails with a Curator is a witty and intoxicating way to enjoy the treasures of a world-renowned art collection.

The publication’s chapters are authored by members of the Frick’s curatorial department: Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator; Curator Aimee Ng; and Giulio Dalvit, Assistant Curator of Sculpture. The book also includes an introduction by Simon Schama, art historian, professor, and documentarian, and illustrations are provided by Luis Serrano, an artist commissioned to create a series of drawings based on the Frick’s featured masterpieces. The book’s preface is contributed by Ian Wardropper, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director. This publication is made possible by Virginia and Randall Barbato.

Comments Salomon, “The response to Cocktails has been remarkable, reinforcing our sense that discussions of art on digital platforms can be deeply restorative and successfully shared on a global scale. As we’ve expanded our online content beyond the series and welcomed visitors to Frick Madison—our temporary home during the renovation of our historic buildings—much of our public has remained vocal about the deep impact the videos had on them. We felt that capturing our commentaries in book form would allow the series to live on and to reach subsequent waves of culturally engaged audiences around the world.”

Cocktails with a Curator is published in the autumn of 2022 by The Frick Collection in association with Rizzoli Books. The hardcover volume of 272 pages has 256 color and black-and-white illustrations ($39.95, member price $31.96). It may be pre-ordered online through the Frick’s Museum Shop at or by emailing or calling 212.547.6849 (and it will be available for purchase on-site this fall).


Internationally recognized as a premier museum and research center, The Frick Collection is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. The collection originated with Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who bequeathed his home, paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts to the public for their enjoyment. The institution’s holdings—which encompass masterworks from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century—have grown over the decades, more than doubling in size since the opening of the museum in 1935. A critical component of the institution is the Frick Art Reference Library, founded in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of the museum’s founder. Recognized as one of the world’s top art history research centers, it has served students, scholars, and members of the public free of charge for generations.

The Frick’s historic buildings are currently closed for renovation. Honoring the Frick’s architectural legacy, the plan designed by Selldorf Architects will provide unprecedented access to the 1914 residence, while preserving the intimate visitor experience and beloved galleries. The plan will create new spaces for the display of art, conservation, education, and programs, while improving amenities and overall accessibility.

During the renovation, the museum and library collections remain accessible five blocks north at Frick Madison, the Marcel Breuer–designed building that was once the home of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Audiences may enjoy a substantial gathering of highlights from the Frick, reframed in a setting that inspires fresh perspectives. In a departure from the Frick’s customary presentation style, works are organized at Frick Madison chronologically and by region, allowing for fresh juxtapositions and new insights about treasured paintings and sculptures by Bellini, Bronzino, Clodion, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Holbein, Houdon, Ingres, Manet, Piero della Francesca, Rembrandt, Turner, Velázquez, Vermeer, and many others. The installation also spotlights the Frick’s impressive holdings of decorative arts and sculpture, as well as rarely seen works.


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