The collections of the Frick Art Reference Library relate mainly to paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints by artists from Europe and the Americas created in the Western tradition from the fourth to the twentieth century. In addition, European decorative arts of the fifteenth to the nineteenth century are covered. Materials are collected in any format and in any language, with an increasing proportion of the collections being digital.

The following areas are strengths in the collections:

  • Auction sales
  • Catalogues raisonnés
  • Collecting
  • Exhibitions
  • Iconography
  • Object history
  • Patronage
  • Provenance

For more information, see the Collection Development Policy.

Books and Periodicals | Auction Catalogs | Photoarchive
E-books | Electronic Resources | Digital Collections | Web Archives

Books and Periodicals

The book collection consists of more than 260,000 titles and 2,200 periodicals. Approximately 6,000 books are acquired annually through purchase and gift by museums, art dealers, private collectors, and authors. Books acquired as gifts or through endowed funds are acknowledged with bookplates and a credit line in the catalog. For gifts, complete the Gift Form to include with donated items.

For books and periodicals, search the catalog.

Auction Catalogs

The auction catalog collection consists of more than 98,000 sales. Catalogs from more than 1,000 auction houses in Europe, Australia, and the Americas, ranging in date from the eighteenth century to the present, are represented. Annotated catalogs and price lists, when available, have been acquired to provide additional sales information. The Library continues to add unique and rare catalogs of early sales. It participates in SCIPIO, a database listing auction catalogs and their locations in North America and Europe.

For auction catalogs, search the catalog.


The Photoarchive is a study collection of more than 1.2 million photographic reproductions of works of art from the fourth to the mid-twentieth century by artists trained in the Western tradition. The Photoarchive was founded first and foremost to facilitate object-oriented research; the documentation it offers traces the essential elements of the biography of the work of art—changes of attribution, ownership, and condition. 

For Photoarchive materials, search the catalog.

To learn more about the Photoarchive, see Research > Photoarchive.


The Library has access to thousands of e-books through the Proquest Ebook Central service. To read these titles, researchers must be registered at the Library and sign up for an Ebook Central account while onsite. To learn about registration, see Visit > Library > Admission

Please note that there are many e-books, in addition to those offered through EBook Central, in the Libary's catalog that are freely available and do not require registration with the Library for access.

For e-books, search the catalog.

Electronic Resources

The electronic resources collection consists of more than 100 subscription databases and e-journals. Access to these databases and e-journals is only available onsite at the Library. Free Internet resources, which are available from any location, can be found through the Open Access Web sites in the Electronic Resources Finder of the catalog.

For electronic resources, search the Electronic Resources Finder.

Digital Collections

Images of works of art from the Library's Photoarchive, archival documents, and books are available for browsing and/or download.

For digital collections, search the Frick Digital Collections and/or our catalog.

Web Archives

The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), of which the Library is a member, archives Web sites for preservation purposes to make them available to the public now and in the future.

For Web archives, search NYARC Discovery.

To nominate a Web site for archiving, see NYARC Web Archive Collections.