Ellen Prokop

Ellen Prokop is the Associate Head of Research at the Frick Art Reference Library. For more information, see her biography.

"Technological Revolutions and Art History": The Ethical Challenges of Digitization

The 2020–21 symposium “Technological Revolutions and Art History” explores current topics in digital art history. For a deeper dive into the major themes of access and bias, Ellen Prokop, former Digital Art History Lead, interviews Luciano Johnson, Associate Chief Librarian for Preservation, Imaging, and Creative Services, and Dr. Stephen Bury, Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian.

Library Debuts Interactive Map of 20th-Century Frick Photo Expeditions

To enhance the discoverability of Photoarchive materials, the library launched a collaboration with the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information at Hunter College, City University of New York in 2014 to develop an interactive digital map that traces the movement of library staff and photographers as they traveled across the United States and recorded paintings and sculptures in private homes and little-known public collections.

Remembering Helen Sanger, Frick’s First Mellon Chief Librarian

Color photograph of Frick Art Reference Library staff, around 1990.
Helen Sanger (1923–2020), the Frick Art Reference Library’s first Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian, passed away in July at the age of 96. Her forty-seven-year career at the library shaped the institution profoundly, and her legacy lives on in many areas of its initiatives.

Alfred Cook's "Progress Photographs"

Black-and-white photograph of a light fixture.
From 1931 to 1935, Alfred Cook, a footman to the Frick family, documented the transformation of the Frick’s Gilded Age mansion into a public art gallery and research center in a series of evocative “progress photographs.”

Looking Closely

Black and white photograph of a monumental wall tomb featuring several figures and decorative reliefs.

Scholars celebrate photoarchives for providing access to little-known works of art housed in private collections or in circulation on the art market. A feature of photoarchives that is less often appreciated, however, is how comprehensively they document famous works of art on public view.

Intimate Sketches of New York

Drawing of a massive, multi-family townhouse with turrets, gables and round arches standing on the corner of a busy intersection in mid-century Manhattan.

One of the most popular series completed by the American illustrator Vernon Howe Bailey was his "Intimate Sketches of New York," which records the city during a period of dramatic growth — and change.

The Lost Bride

Half-length portrait of a young woman wearing an embroidered dress, veil and gloves standing next to a bouquet of flowers.

Lost or destroyed paintings are perhaps the most painful reminder of the importance of photoarchives and similar repositories of images and accompanying metadata. An unfortunate example is this portrait of a young bride.

A Byzantine Madonna in Italy

A restored half-length painting of the Virgin Mary wearing a veil holding the Baby Jesus.

The third and final entry in a series of three blog posts focusing on conservation "interventions" as recorded in the holdings of the Frick Art Reference Library Photoarchive is this mysterious devotional image in the church of San Martino in Velletri, Italy.

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