Some of the most outstanding art galleries are located in New York City and the Frick Collection is no exception. This small art museum is the legacy of Henry Clay Frick, a coke and steel magnate who used the fortune he gained at the turn of the 20th century to amass a stunning collection of European artwork. These masterpieces were housed in his private Fifth Avenue mansion that dates back to 1914.
When Frick died in 1919, he bequeathed his home, the furnishings, and his masterpieces to establish an art gallery for the public, with the goal of encouraging the appreciation for fine arts. Today this beautiful and well-preserved French-style mansion houses the Frick Collection, an outstanding collection of Western paintings, sculptures, and furnishings displayed within 16 galleries. The permanent collection features celebrated works by many Old Masters acquired by Henry Clay Frick, as well as several more major pieces added to the collection by Frick’s daughter Helen Clay Frick who expanded the museum extensively after her father passed away.
The Frick Collection, which originally housed 131 paintings, has now grown to showcase a collection of more than 1100 works of art that span from the Renaissance era to the late nineteenth century. The Frick Art Reference Library, founded in 1920, is renowned for its extensive auction and exhibition catalogs.
A Showcase of Greats from El Greco to Goya
The Frick Collection includes renowned paintings by revered and important European artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Thomas Gainsborough, Titian, and Francisco Goya. Art lovers can take in incredible works such as Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini’s St. Francis in Ecstasy, Piero Della Francesca’s St. John the Evangelist, and Diego Velázquez’s portrait of King Philip IV. An entire room is dedicated to French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s sensual, sweeping series of large wall paintings The Progress of Love. Masters like El Greco, Degas, and Johannes Vermeer, whose painting Mistress and Maid is the last one purchased by Frick, are just some of the artists whose works are showcased in the Frick Collection.
In addition to the stunning paintings by some of the world’s greatest artists, the Frick Collection’s permanent collection of artwork also features important sculptures (including a collection of world-renowned small bronzes) 18th-century fine French furniture, works on paper, carpets, porcelains, enamels, clocks, textiles, and other fine quality pieces.
Special temporary exhibitions take place each year at the Frick Collection, showcasing additional works to the museum’s permanent collection. Visitors can search the database of the museum’s permanent pieces at collections.frick.org, which also provides weekly updated information on which artwork is currently on display, as not all pieces are on view all the time.
Fifth Avenue Splendor
Henry Clay Frick commissioned architects Carrère & Hastings to build his mansion in 1910 after purchasing a site at Fifth Avenue and East 70th Street. Construction of the property took place between 1913 and 1914, and the wealthy industrialist spent $5,000,000 on his home. By the time it was finished, the luxurious mansion spanned an entire city block.
Visitors to the Frick Collection will not only enjoy a rich visual display of artwork but will also experience what an early 20th-century Fifth Avenue mansion was like. This opulent residence features a fountain under an airy skylight in an enclosed courtyard, and the exterior is surrounded by picturesque private gardens and magnolia trees. This carefully preserved residence is decorated with 18th-century French furniture, striking Italian bronzes, and delicate Chinese porcelain vases, offering a beautiful, intimate and idyllic setting to admire this art exhibit.
In addition to his passion for art, Henry Clay Frick was also an ardent music lover and the Frick Collection hosts a busy schedule of classical concert performances.
Visiting The Frick Collection in New York City
The Frick Collection is located within the Henry Clay Frick House on 1 East 70th Street at Fifth Avenue, next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For entrance fees, hours or more information on upcoming exhibitions call 212-288-0700 or visit The Frick Collection’s official website. The Frick Art Reference Library is located around the corner from The Frick Collection at 10 East 71st Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues.
Location: at 1 East 70th Street at Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York
Click here to visit The Frick Collection official website