The Frick Collection was established posthumously by the estate of Henry Clay Frick in his landmark Gilded Age mansion in 1935. When he died, he bequeathed his residence at 71st Street and Fifth Avenue and most of his art for a museum to be created in his name.

It currently has around 1,100 works of art, including paintings, rugs, porcelain, and sculpture. The Frick Collection doesn't have a specific focus and contains examples of Old Masters, English 18th century portraits, Dutch 17th century, Renaissance, Chinese porcelains, and more. They have some excellent Rembrandts, El Grecos, Vermeers, and Whistlers, among others.

Though the collection is rather small, it has played a significant role in collecting in the United States-- The paintings that Frick and his colleagues Andrew Mellon and Andrew Carnegie collected reflect the attutude and nature of Americans with regards to art.

I've been a fellow of this museum for about a year now, and it's not as much for the art as for the atmosphere. The Frick also contains a reference library used by thousands of art historians every year, as well as a garden with flowering magnolia trees in the middle of Fifth Avenue (a rare occurence in New York City). The architecture is absolutely exacting and grand-- overall a nice place to spend a Saturday afternoon with a good book. They often have free lectures and concerts open to the public.

For anybody visiting New York and looking for museums, I'd advise you visit this one first. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is huge, it's got lots of stuff, but its atmosphere is huge and marble and sanitized. Too many tourists. The Frick is unique in that it is an accessible museum with intimacy and privacy.

Thanks to and the wonderful world of tax deductions.

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