New York City is loaded with blue chip art right at our fingertips. The heavy hitters such as MoMA, the Whitney and The Met present big and beautiful collections that keep even finicky art patrons salivating.
Dig just a little deeper and head to The Frick Collection, a lesser-known gem that’s a treasure chest of lush masterworks from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century. It’s the perfect spot to while away an afternoon on the Upper East Side.
You needn’t spend lavishly to breathe in all the opulence, as the Frick is pay what you wish on Wednesday afternoons and free on the first Friday of the month. Even frugal folk can enjoy a taste of the silver spoon.
The collection is housed in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick, the coke and steel magnate. The mansion provides a grand setting reminiscent of the houses of European nobility. Meander around the palatial digs and you’ll get a sense of the opulent lifestyle of the Gilded Age industrialists. The romantic gardens are a patchwork of plants, trees and flowers with plenty of verdant lawn. It’s the definition of gracious.
Henry Frick was a passionate art collector. Thankfully, he left his New York residence and his remarkable collection of Western paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts to the public. Of special note are paintings by Bellini, Constable, Corot, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, El Greco, Holbein, Ingres, Manet, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Titian, Turner, Velázquez, Vermeer, Whistler, and other masters.
Superb examples of French eighteenth-century furniture, Italian Renaissance bronzes and Limoges enamels bring additional eye candy to the galleries, while the interior garden and fountain contribute to the serenity. The Frick is revered for its small, focused exhibitions and for its highly regarded concert series and robust education program.
Determined to further engage the public and broaden its audience, the Frick has expanded its education offerings with First Fridays. Museum admission and gallery programs are free from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Friday evening of the month (except September and January). Visitors will have access to the permanent collection and special exhibition galleries. Enjoy talks and lectures by museum educators and curators, music and dance performances and open sketching in the Garden Court with complimentary materials provided.
The Frick is located at 1 East 70th Street. It is open six days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Children under ten are not admitted.
Admission is $22; senior citizens $17; students $12; pay what you wish every Wednesday from 2-6 pm, free for First Fridays.
Download the free Frick Collection app to enhance your experience.
Subway: #6 to 68th Street station.
Bus: M1, M2, M3, and M4 southbound on Fifth Avenue to 72nd Street and northbound on Madison Avenue to 70th Street. A Citi Bike kiosk is located on 72nd and 5th Avenue, so pedal on over.
Photo Credits: Michael Bodycomb, Lucas Chilczuk