The Frick Celebrates its 85th Anniversary

Image Source: The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection now marks the 85th anniversary of its opening with a range of free content across its digital platforms. On December 16, 1935, the museum opened its doors to the public, sharing with New York City and the world, Henry Clay Frick’s extraordinary art collection and the Fifth Avenue Gilded Age mansion that houses it. 

The Frick remains one of New York’s cultural treasures, famed for its masterpieces by Bellini, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, El Greco, Holbein, Houdon, Ingres, Rembrandt, Renoir, Turner, Vermeer, Whistler, and others. This milestone comes at another important moment for the institution, as the museum and library prepare for renovations of their historic building and the move to Frick Madison. Works from the permanent collection will be displayed for the first time chronologically and by region in the Marcel Breuer-designed building on Madison Avenue during a two-year installation, scheduled to open in early 2021. Additionally, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Frick Art Reference Library’s founding in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick, Henry Clay Frick’s daughter. 

Though the museum’s galleries have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frick is sharing this milestone anniversary virtually with its global community through new programs and engaging content. Ian Wardropper, the Frick’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, welcomes visitors to the festivities in a short video discussing the museum’s history and anticipating the installation at Frick Madison. Two new episodes of the Frick’s acclaimed series Cocktails with a Curator, which premiere every Friday at 5 p.m., will bookend the anniversary celebration and offer insights on the history of the collection. On December 11, Curator Aimee Ng discusses Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid (1666−67), the last painting Frick purchased before his death in 1919. In the program that airs on December 18, the eve of Frick’s birthday, deputy director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon speaks about Malvina Hoffman’s 1922 Bust of Henry Clay Frick, commissioned by Helen Clay Frick as a tribute to her father. The portrait, prominently displayed in the entrance hall, has welcomed visitors to the museum for decades. This popular series airs on the Frick’s YouTube channel, where viewers can access past episodes along with recipes for the specially selected cocktails that complement the subject of each episode.

Further celebratory posts inspired by the museum’s opening 85 years ago this December can be found on the institution’s InstagramFacebook, and Twitter  accounts. For all virtual events and content visit www.frick.org/85.