Frick Collection
art museum in New York City



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Frick Collection
art museum in New York City
Average: 5 (1 vote)

1 E 70th Street
New York, New York
United States

More about Frick Collection

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Ruthless businessman, Andrew Carnegie, shows his soft spot for the arts.

One of the best small art museums in the U.S. If current expansion plans go through it will soon be one of the best medium-sized museums. Big, medium, or small, reviews seem unanimous that the Frick Collection is just right and a must for European art fans in a city with a fiercely competitive art scene.

Located on the former site of the Lennox Library, which housed the first Gutenberg Bible to reach the colonies. Henry Clay Frick tore down the library in 1912 after its collection was moved and incorporated with the Astor Library; thus beginning the famous New York Public Library. Frick didn’t hate libraries; in fact, architect Thomas Hastings who designed the Frick House would also design the New York Public Library. He did, however, hate ex-business partner Andrew Carnegie. Rumors abound that he selected the property because of its proximity to Carnegie’s mansion. It is unclear whether he intended to outshine Carnegie by building the grandest house on the block, or the property was simply the only lot available, but a literal flood of bad blood between the men suggests the former.

Frick was the grandson of Abraham Overholt, the owner of my recommended budget rye for Manhattans, Old Overholt Whiskey. With a keen business instinct and little formal education, Frick managed to buy up a bunch of coal mines to create coke (not that kind of coke) for steel manufacturing. He quickly gained control of the Pittsburgh coke industry and by his mid-thirties was chairman to the largest coke manufacturing plant in the world and a millionaire in partnership with Carnegie. Their friendship ended when Frick went off the deep end. Just before Carnegie’s death Frick was reported to have said, "I will see [Carnegie] in hell, where we are both going." Frick died of a heart attack in 1919 which is linked through unsubstantiated reports to syphilis.

Despite a reputation for greed, he did donate a lot of land, money, his art, and his house to the people. The museum gives a glimpse of this generous man behind the business; a man with good taste and a sensitive eye for beauty. Curators go out of their way to maintain the home’s original atmosphere, and in doing so have created a welcomed time capsule amidst a hectic metropolis.

This intimate museum is just a few blocks from the Whitney, steps away from Central Park, and about a 15 minute walk from the Met. Go on Sundays between 11am and 1pm for a “pay what you wish” admission fee then take a lazy stroll to the nearby zoo to watch monkeys reenact Carnegie and Frick’s more intense debates.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Frick Collection

The Frick Collection is an art museum in New York City. In March 2021, the Collection temporarily relocated to Frick Madison, at the Marcel Breuer–designed building at 945 Madison Avenue, during the renovation of its historic buildings. Its permanent collection features Old Master paintings and European fine and decorative arts, including works by Bellini, Fragonard, Goya, Rembrandt, Turner, Velázquez, Vermeer, and many others. The museum was founded by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), and its collection has more than doubled in size since opening to the public in 1935. The Frick also houses the Frick Art Reference Library, a premier art history research center established in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick (1888–1984).

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Frick Collection.