Clio Logo

The Frick Collection Library was established by Helen Clay Frick, the daughter of the collection's owner Henry Clay Frick, in 1920. The Museum was established fifteen years later in 1935. The collection consists of works associated with Old Master paintings along with European sculptures and decorative arts. Aside from the collection, the Museum holds special exhibitions, concert series, lectures and other educational programs. The goal of the collection is to preserve and deepen the appreciation of the works included.

The original Library was located in the Frick family home from 1920 to 1924 before it was moved to 6 East 71st Street. It remained at this location until 1935 when it found a home in its current location adjoining the Frick Collection Museum. The building for the Frick Collection was designed by John Russell Pope. It was six stories tall, which included enough space for the collection to grow in years to come. 

One of the Museum's most important collections consists of over 56,000 photo negatives of significant and rare works across Europe and America. This project was commissioned by Helen Clay Frick beginning in 1922. Many of the works photographed are lost, damaged, or destroyed today, making the photos that much more valuable. These photos can be accessed online (see the link below). 

The Library played a significant role during World War II as it served as the base for the Committee on the Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas of the American Council of Learned Societies. This Committee sought to find and preserve important works that were located in areas devastated by the war. They accomplished this by producing maps showing the location of significant works of art across Europe. During this time, the Library shut down to focus its resources on this effort. This is the only time in the Library's history that it closed its doors for a significant amount of time. 

History. The Frick Collection. Accessed 4/23/17.

Bailey, Colin B.. Building the Frick Collection: An introduction to the House and Its Collections. New York, NY. Scala Arts Publishers Inc., 2006.