The Frick is a small museum with an elegant collection. It is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Fifth Avenue between 70th and 71st Streets. (The Frick is now temporarily located on Madison Avenue in the former Met Breuer building while its permanent home is renovated.)
The collection is housed in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick. Frick was a Pittsburgh-based industrialist who had amassed a fortune partly in partnership with Andrew Carnegie. In 1905, he moved to New York City.
At that time, the buildings along Fifth Avenue by Central Park consisted almost exclusively of mansions owned by the millionaires of the day. Seeking to move to this fashionable area, Frick purchased the site of the Old Lenox Library between 70th and 71st streets. However, he was not able to move into the new mansion that he had built on that site until 1914.
Architect Thomas Hastings was hired to design and build the new mansion. The result was a three-story Beaux Art mansion.
Frick died in 1919. He had specified in his will that the mansion, its furnishings and art collection would be left to the public as a museum. However, the mansion continued to be occupied by his widow and daughter until Mrs. Frick's death in 1931.
At that point, the mansion was transformed into a museum under the supervision of John Russell Pope. Subsequently, the building was expanded in 1977 and in 2011.
Despite these changes, the building still has the feel of a residence. Several of the galleries still contain furniture arranged as in someone's home.
The foundation of the collection are works assembled by Mr. Frick. However, about a third of the works have been added since his death. The majority of he works are by European masters including Rembrandt, Turner, Vermeer, Fragonard and Goya.
It is a substantial but not large collection. Rather, it is a collection of masterpieces, gem after gem.
The setting is restful and unhurried. The galleries are adjacent to a central, enclosed, marble courtyard with small plants making borders. Outside between the house and the Avenue is a garden with three magnolia trees.
For more information about the Frick Collection, see the Frick Collection website.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Art exhibition review: "Manet: Three Paintings From the Norton Simon Museum"
Art exhibition review: "Whistler As Printmaker"
Art exhibition review: "Canova's George Washington"
Art exhibition review: “Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture”
Places to see art - - New York City - - The Frick Collection