Discoveries: A Library Blog

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.”

Curating the Visual Landscape of Our Digital World

Tempera painting on poplar panel of Saint Lucy dressed in blue holding a martyr's palm and her eyes. She is set against a gold background.

The Artificial Intelligence revolution is underway and how we as a society are interacting with images is changing drastically in response. Computer vision technology is increasingly becoming the standard vehicle through which we navigate the visual world on our devices.

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.

Mind the Antlers

Sketch of deer antlers.

The story of the "overzealous" restoration of a family portrait as related by the painting's current owner illustrates how crucial this type of personal information is to the documentation of the Photoarchive.

Art and Advertising

An advertisement for a painting of a landscape featuring a settlement of Native Americans.

Perhaps one third of Photoarchive reproductions are cut from publications, including catalogs, books, newspapers, and magazines. This advertisement sheet for a painting possibly by Ralph Albert Blakelock (illustrated at left) was printed in 1942. As the sheet describes, the dealer Americana Arts is offering a landscape with teepees that might or might not be a good deal:

The Madonna of Einsiedeln

Image depicting the Virgin Mary and Christ Child.

Although most of the Photoarchive’s 1.2 million reproductions illustrate art from just eight national schools, works from an additional forty countries and regions classified “minor schools” are also represented.

Know Your Meme

Painting of the corner of an apartment featuring a blue sofa, a side table with a lamp, and walls covered with framed paintings.

Interior of the Artist's Apartment, made sometime after 1910 by the American painter and watercolorist Walter Gay, shows a narrow view of a sitting area in Walter and his wife Matilda's Paris apartment at 11 Rue de l'Université, where the couple had moved in May 1909.

Selections from the William H. Schab Gift

A color drawing of a terra cotta vase filled with red, yellow, purple and red-and-white striped tulips with a small bird's nest containing three eggs propped on its base.

Dr. Charles A. Ryskamp (1928–2010), Director of The Frick Collection from 1987 to 1997 and, prior to that, of the Morgan Library & Museum, spent more than fifty years developing an extraordinary personal collection of European drawings. Passionate about collecting from a young age, his interest took a serious turn while he was a graduate student at Yale.

A Cosgrave as a Copley

Three-quarter-length portrait of a man against a landscape, pointing to three pyramids.

In 1943, Brooklyn artist Esta Cosgrave (née Esther Flack) (ca. 1900–1952) adopted a quirky style of painting modern-day likenesses in 18th- and 19th–century costumes and poses.

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