Lines and Colors art blog

The Frick Collection, NYC

The Frick Collection, NYC; Johannes Vermeer, Giovanni Bellini, Hans Holbein, John Constable, James Whistler, Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Turner, François Boucher, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Titian, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Johannes Vermeer

I was in New York over the weekend and I took the opportunity to visit the Frick Collection, which I haven’t been to for a few years (it’s often hard for me to get past the Met and the Morgan Library to other museums when I’m in NYC).

The Frick is based on the collection of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick, and is housed in his mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, at 5th Avenue & 70th, not far from the Met.

Though it’s a pretty large urban mansion, it’s a small museum compared to behemoths like the Met or the Brooklyn Museum, but given its size, I think it has some of the highest “masterpiece density” of world-class works per square foot of major museums (perhaps only beaten out by the Uffzzi).

There are stunning, famous and often reproduced works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Titian, Velazquez, Belinni, Holbein, Constable, Turner, Ingres, Monet, Degas, Whistler and… well, more than I can list here.

If you’re in NYC and want a good dose of masterpieces without dealing with the mind-boggling scale of the Met, the Frick has your number.

Though based on Henry Clay Frick’s collection, the museum is not static, there are changing exhibits, and the museum continues to acquire works for the collection.

The Frick has “pay-what-you-wish” admission on Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m.

Online collection

Though I’m glad the museum has put their collection online in an easily searchable manner with reasonably large images, they have not been as generous as some museums in terms of making high-resolution images of their collection readily available, and photography is not permitted in the museum (you can take your selfies in the central court, but not in the collections).

For those who can’t visit in person, the online gallery can be searched directly or sorted by collection (i.e. paintings, works on paper, sculpture and other decorative objects), and browsed or searched from there.

There is also a collection app, suitable for tablets, though the resolution is not quite as high as the website.

Even for those in NY who can readily visit the museum, it’s worth browsing through the works on paper in particular, as there are numerous objects that can’t be displayed often, and it’s a really nice collection to browse online.

What isn’t obvious when viewing the collection online (and really should be) is the option to use a Mirador IIF pop-up viewer to view an enlarged version of the image in a full-screen window.

Though the resolution of the image isn’t higher than the built into the page enlargement, the latter has to be viewed within the constraints of a window in the page.

The full page viewer is accessed by clicking the enigmatic Miridor IIF icon at the bottom of the right-hand information column for each image. The icon looks like three lower case i’s and an f. Why they can’t also label this link with “full screen viewer” or some other explanatory text is beyond me.

That being said, there are also a few high-resolution images of some of the objects in the Frick Collection from other online sources. You can find some of them in zoomable form on the Google Art Project, and others by using a size-filtered search on Bing Images or Google Images. (Hopefully, these links will work for you, I’ve set them to “Frick Collection paintings” and filtered for 1600 pixels wide or larger).

There is also a selection of images from the Frick Collection on Wikimedia Commons, though only a few of them are higher in resolution than the ones on the Frick Collection website.

(Images above: Johannes Vermeer, Giovanni Bellini, Hans Holbein, John Constable, James Whistler, Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Turner, François Boucher, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Titian, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Johannes Vermeer)


4 responses to “The Frick Collection, NYC”

  1. A must see museum.

  2. This may be a stupid question or at least reveal my lack of education concerning art work displayed in a museum but I was wondering what you mean by “famously reproduced works”? Are they not the originals or were they purchased as a copy by some well known and accredited artist? The very first image by Vermeer seems like it’s lacking that ethereal softness that makes his paintings magical ….or is this due to the digital image on the museums website.
    Thank you for spending the time to produce this website it’s been a source of inspiration, education and a very useful tool.

    1. Sorry, Mat — perhaps a bad choice of phrase on my part, so I’ve edited the post to change it. No, these are indeed the originals of these paintings, I simply mean that many of the paintings in the collection are familiar and famous because images of them are often reproduced in books and prints.

      If the Vermeer looks less than etherial, it is the fault of the available image. Having just come from seeing the original painting, I can attest that it is spellbinding.

  3. Thank you Charlie! And I’m sure the Vermeer was amazing …thank you again