The Insider Tip Among the Museums: The Frick Collection

7:54 am  |  19.07.2021

The art museum: “The Frick Collection” is beautifully located at the southern end of the Museum Mile. The mansion on Central Park was once the home of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), a wealthy industrialist and art collector who opened his prestigious residence to the public as a museum after his death.

The History of the Frick Collection

The model for the Frick Collection is the collection of the Marquise von Hertford, who converted his house in London together with his art collection into a museum and made it accessible to the public as the Wallace Collection.

Henry Clay Frick had a look at this collection in London and now concretized his plans to convert his future instructions into a museum after his death. In 1905 the art collector moved to New York to spend his old age there. The architects Carrère and Hastings were commissioned to build a villa on New York’s Central Park.

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A luxurious villa for Henry Clay Frick and his wife Adelaide was built on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 70th Street in 1913/1914 for $ 5,000,000. When Frick died in 1919, the house was transferred to a foundation in accordance with his wishes. His wife continued to live in the villa.

It was only after her death in 1931 that some renovations began to prepare the building for use as a museum. Additional exhibition rooms, an atrium, and a concert hall were added. In 1935, the Frick Collection finally opened, just as Frick had wished for in the days of his life. 

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To keep the collection going, Frick had left an additional $ 15,000,000. With this money, further purchases of works of art for the collection could be made, which was also Frick’s wish.

The Works of Art and Exhibitions

In addition to the 131 paintings that Frick had acquired, 75 more paintings were added over time, which the foundation bought. In 1977 the Frick Collection received two more exhibition rooms for temporary exhibitions and now shows more than 1,100 works of art in 16 impressive gallery rooms. The collection consists mainly of works from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century.

The 131 works of Frick’s original collection are not allowed to leave the museum at his request. 

Temporary exhibitions and classical concerts take place in the former Fricks estate on a regular basis. You can read all information about it here. In 2001 an exhibition of impressive sculptures and porcelain was added, for which part of the building was glazed.

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A Role Model for Many Other Art Collectors

The Frick Collection is a role model for many art collectors in the United States. 

Inspired by Frick, a lot of people are now thinking about what will happen to their collection after death and then donating them mostly to a museum. The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas is considered the largest example. But Andrew Mellon also donated his art collection and used it to finance the construction of the National Art Gallery in Washington D.C.

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How Much time Should you Plan?

The visit to the museum starts with a 12-minute film about Henry Clay Frick’s life, his collection, and his intention to preserve his villa. Overall, you shouldn’t need more than 3 hours in the Frick Collection to see everything.

Suitable for Children?

Due to the fact that the museum is located in Frick’s formerly private premises and that furniture and carpets from his time have been preserved in the rooms, it is not permitted to bring children under the age of 10 into the museum. Children under 16 years of age are only allowed to enter the museum under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian.

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A Free Audio Guide as a Source of Information

Upon request, an audio guide is available at the entrance, who will provide you with information about the works of art on your tour through the Frick Collection.

Shopping in the Villa

Of course, there is also a museum shop in the Frick Collection. Poster prints of the works of art, funny memories of the Frick Collection, bags, watches, or just a postcard for art-loving friends? Everything is presented very lovingly and is really fun to look at and to choose a souvenir from this individual museum.


An absolute insider tip and a must for all art lovers among you. The very fact that this was the former home of an art collector whose dearest wish was this great museum makes the visit so special.

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The architecture, the furnishings, and the lovingly presented Fricks collection is a journey into the past. The Frick Collection is never overcrowded like the really big museums on the Museums Mile. You are very close to Central Park and can combine this exhibition very well with a visit to the green lungs of Manhattan.

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