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The Frick Collection – Virtual Tour

Frick Collection

The Frick Collection – Virtual Tour

The Frick Collection is a small art museum with a collection of old master paintings and beautiful furniture housed in six galleries within a former New York mansion.

The collection features some of the best-known paintings by major European artists, as well as works of sculpture and porcelain. In addition to the permanent collection, the Frick organizes popular temporary exhibitions.

The Frick Collection is housed in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City. It houses the collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. 

The collection is exhibited in nineteen galleries of varying sizes within the former residence. The collection features paintings by major European artists as well as numerous works of sculpture, porcelain, and Oriental rugs.

After Frick’s death, the collection was expanded half of the collection being acquired since 1919.

The museum cannot lend the works of art that belonged to Frick, as stipulated in his will; however, artworks and objects acquired since his Frick’s death are loaned to other art museums.

Included in the collection are masterpieces by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Johannes Vermeer, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Piero della Francesca.

Henry Clay Frick

Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) was an American industrialist, financier, union-buster, and art patron.

He built the neoclassical Frick Mansion and, upon his death, donated his collection of old master paintings and furniture to create the Frick Collection.

Virtual Tour of the Frick Collection

Highlights of the Frick Collection

“Saint Francis in the Desert” by Giovanni Bellini

“Saint Francis in the Desert” by Giovanni Bellini portrays Saint Francis of Assisi stepping out in the sun from his cave.

Francis lived under poor conditions in the beginning and used to take part in private spiritual retreats at monasteries.

The overall composition is thought to be a meditation of St. Francis, and although it has been cut down in size, the signature of  IOANNES BELLINVS on a small, creased tag is visible in the lower-left corner.

“Sir Thomas More” by Hans Holbein the Younger

“Sir Thomas More” by Hans Holbein, the Younger, was created by Holbein shortly after he arrived in London.

Holbein’s friend, the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, recommended that Holbein befriend More, who was then a powerful, knighted speaker at the English Parliament.

Moore played a prominent role during his lifetime, and his courageous actions echo down through history. Pope Pius XI canonized Thomas More in 1935 as a martyr.

“Portrait of Thomas Cromwell” by Hans Holbein the Younger

“Portrait of Thomas Cromwell” by Hans Holbein, the Younger, depicts Cromwell when he was around 48 years old. It is one of two portraits Holbein painted of Cromwell. 

The original panel was lost. However, three versions of this painting survive. 

Thomas Cromwell (1485 – 1540) was a lawyer and statesman who became a confidant of Henry VIII, assuming the roles of vice-regent, Lord Chancellor, lord high chamberlain, among others.

A shrewd politician, he was aware of the effect of propaganda and commissioned Holbein to produce images positioning him as a reformist and royalist.

“Saint Jerome as Scholar” by El Greco

This “Saint Jerome” by El Greco is one of five known paintings of Saint Jerome by El Greco.

Saint Jerome is shown in the red vestments of a cardinal, although the office did not exist in his lifetime.

He is seated before an open book, symbolizing his role as translator of the Bible from Greek into Latin, in the fifth century.

His version, the Vulgate, was in use throughout the Catholic Church for many centuries.

The Polish Rider” by Rembrandt

“The Polish Rider” depicts a young man traveling on horseback through a dark and gloomy landscape.

It is not known whether the painting was a portrait of a particular person, living or historical, or the story it represents.

There is also some uncertainty about who the artist was.

However, the quality of the painting and complex expression on the Rider’s brilliantly painted face all point to Rembrandt, and that is the significant consensus of the experts.

“Harmony in Pink and Grey” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Harmony in Pink and Grey by James Abbott McNeill Whistler is one of several full-length Portraits of Lady Meux by Whistler.

Lady Meux was a friend and patron of Whister’s. A woman of humble origins before marrying Sir Henry Meux, the heir to a brewery fortune.

She was an outsider to conservative British society, but Lady Meux joined forces with the equally controversial artist Whistler to promote her image in the three full-length portraits Whistler made of her.

Whistler painted this second portrait depicting the subject on stage standing before a pinkish-grey curtain, in an obvious allusion to her very brief stage career.

Lady Meux claims her space in front of a curtain and looks out at us with a challenging stare. She wears a high fashion light grey dress trimmed in pink satin and a sleek molded bodice.

Whistler painted her cascading chiffon train trimmed in satin with a bravado that expresses the energy of his subject.

“Officer and Laughing Girl” by Johannes Vermeer

“Officer and Laughing Girl” by Johannes Vermeer depicts a girl in a yellow dress seated at a table facing a man with a large hat. She has a soft light falling on her face, coming from the left-hand side of the painting from an open window. 

The man in the painting has his back to the viewer and is mainly in the shadows with his face obscured. He is a cavalier wearing a red coat and an expensive hat, showing his wealth and rank. His hat is wide-brimmed, which was weather-resistant and used for snowy and rainy conditions.

The background includes a large map on the wall. The window and lighting are characteristic of Vermeer’s interior paintings because he used the same room in many of his paintings.

This window is extremely similar to the window in the Girl Reading a Letter and Open Window and the Milkmaid. The glass in the window has variations of color, showing Vermeer’s precision in this painting’s details. 

The woman resembles Vermeer’s wife, Catharina Bolnes, who had posed for many of his paintings. With x-ray photographs, art historians can see that Vermeer had initially planned to paint the woman with a large white collar.

This was later changed to show more of her yellow dress. The yellow bodice with braiding has appeared in many of Vermeer’s other portraits. The woman is showing holding a wine glass, usually used for white wine to illustrate her wealth. 

“Mistress and Maid” by Johannes Vermeer

“Mistress and Maid” by Johannes Vermeer depicts two women, in which the maid interrupts to deliver a letter to the seated woman who was writing a letter. The painting exemplifies Vermeer’s preference for yellow and blue, female models, and domestic scenes. 

Vermeer made strong use of yellow in the woman’s elegant fur-lined overcoat and blue in the silk tablecloth and the maid’s apron. The painting focuses on the Mistress sitting at a desk writing, and the Maid as she delivers a message.

The light in the painting comes from the left and falls on the mistress’s face. The mistress has a pensive gaze, with her fingertips lifted to her chin in a questioning manner.

 Vermeer favored the portrayal of quiet domestic scenes containing women. For Vermeer, this composition focuses on a moment of interaction and interruption that suggests drama and mystery.

The gestures and expressions of the two women in this painting suggest anxiety over the letter and contents.

“Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

“Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicts a young princess in her twenties from a distinguished French family who became a French essayist and biographer.

She was considered independent, liberal, and outspoken. She published several books, including biographies of Byron and the Irish revolutionary Robert Emmet.

This portrait took three years to complete in 1845 when she was a mother of three. The work resulted after several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings.

A friend of the family commented to Ingres, who at the time was the greatest portrait painter in France and his sixties: “You must have been in love to depict her this way.”

The portrait is provocatively intimate in this scene, as though the viewer had just entered her boudoir, as she calmly leaned on an upholstered fireplace and considered her audience.

“The Harbor of Dieppe” by J.M.W. Turner

“The Harbor of Dieppe” by J.M.W. Turner shows the brilliant light that each day transformed the commercial French harbor in the early morning. The sun is depicted as a white fireball in the sky and reflected as a muted yellow in the water below.

The sun’s reflection on the water draws the viewer into the painting, as the two arms of the city, with its buildings and boats, reach around and point to the distant horizon. 

Turner created this composition from the many sketches he had made on-site in earlier years, detailing the building structures along the right side of the paintings, many of which still stand today.

Long before steamships and railroads, Dieppe, as portrayed by Turner in 1826, was one of the key French ports for goods transiting to and from England.

In Normandy, Turner visited Dieppe’s French port twice before painting this canvas in his London studio. In this romantic view, steamboats and other signs of modernization are ignored in the artist’s imagination.

“Mother and Children” (La Promenade) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“Mother and Children” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir shows a mother who gently guides her two daughters along a circling path in a public park. Together they form a triangular group set apart from the background figures and foliage.

The symmetry in the arrangement of the three blond figures lends a note of elegance. The mother and daughters are turned slightly to the right as they walk along the path.

The young girls are dressed alike and similarly posed. The elder seems more self-confident as she strides forward ahead of her mother, holding her doll in her clasped hands. The mother reassures the younger girl with her hand to her shoulder.

The background figures in the extreme upper right of the scene provide perspective and depth without taking the focus off the central group.

The greens and lavenders of the landscape are echoes of the turquoise and creamy white of the girls’ costumes and the rich blue of their mother’s jacket.

Visiting Tips for The Frick Collection

  • Admission
    • Admission usually requires a fee. Fortunately, there are also Free Days and Pay-What-You-Wish hours, which have longer lines than during the fee-paying hours.
    • Check the museum’s website for the most accurate opening times.
  • Photography
    • Photography is not permitted in the galleries, only in the Garden Court.
  • Dining
    • No eating facilities eat before visiting.
  • Children
    • Children under ten are not allowed in the galleries.
  • Sketching
    • Sketch in the galleries on paper not to exceed 12 x 18 inches and with charcoal or lead pencils only.
    • Pens, colored pencils, oil paints, easels, or watercolors are not allowed.

The Frick Collection

  • Name:             Frick Collection
  • City:                New York City
  • Established:    1935
  • Type:              Art Museum
  • Location:        1 East 70th Street, New York City, U.S.

The Frick Collection Map

The Frick Collection 360 view

The Frick Collection 360 view

The Frick Collection 360 view

Virtual Tour of Museums in New York

Introduction to The Frick Collection

The Frick Museum – New York

History of The Frick Collection


“The modern world thinks of art as very important:
something close to the meaning of life.”

– Alain de Botton


Photo Credit: JOM; Attribution: Wikipedia Content under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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