Sotheby's Museum Network

The Future of the Frick

Recognized as a leading museum and research center, the Frick Collection is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings, beautiful European sculpture and decorative arts. Assembled by Gilded Age industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the collection is shown in Frick's former residence on Fifth Avenue. One of the last remaining mansions of the late 19th century, its rooms provide visitors with a unique setting to view art unlike any other. Before the Frick Collection opened as a museum in 1935, Henry Clay Frick hired John Russell Pope to expand the home to accommodate future visitors. Pope's expansion nearly doubled the size of the original residence, and included the construction of an adjacent building to house the Frick Art Reference Library.

Rendering of the Frick Collection from 70th Street; Courtesy of Selldorf Architects

To keep up with a growing attendance, the Frick Collection unveiled its newest expansion, designed by Selldorf Architects, to the public this week. The firm is renowned for expertise in creating spaces that enhance the art viewing experience and has worked on numerous museums, galleries, and cultural projects around the world. Keeping with the architectural legacy and uniqueness of the Frick, the new plan will preserve the intimate visitor experience, restore the 70th Street garden, as well as provide access to the original 1914 home. The renovations are scheduled to break ground in 2020 and will encompass approximately 60,000 square feet of re-purposed space and 27,000 square feet of new construction.

The Grand Staircase, The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb

The significant expansion will offer visitors an opportunity to visit twelve rooms on the second floor of the original residence, never before accessible to the general public. The additional second floor space, along with a new special exhibition room on the main floor, will offer 30% more presentation space for the collection. A first for the Frick, the project will also include a purpose built educational center and a 220-seat auditorium to better accommodate educational and public programs.

Rendering of a flexible program space in the Education Center, overlooking the garden; Courtesy of Selldorf Architects

Rendering of the main floor special exhibition gallery; Courtesy of Selldorf Architects

The museum will also have new amenities and enhancement to better facilitate visitor attendance and ADA accessibility throughout the entire collection. For example, this new accessibility will include an entrance providing easy access between the museum and the library for the first time. Along with updating the visitor's area the museum will also be modernizing back-of-house facilities including conservation laboratories for the museum and library's collections. The updates to the infrastructure protect not only the collection but also preserve the institution and improve overall efficiency.

Rendering of the Frick Collection Reception Hall; Courtesy of Selldorf Architects

According to a recent announcement by the Frick, the expansion aspires to address institutional and programmatic needs; the projects will create new and critical resources for the collection, conservation, and education while simultaneously upgrading visitor amenities and overall access. The expansion marks the first comprehensive upgrade to the Frick since the institution opened more than eighty years ago.

To keep up to date with the project and for additional information, visit

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