Henry Clay Frick


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(b West Overton, Pa., 19 Dec. 1849; d New York, 2 Dec. 1919).

American industrialist, art collector, and philanthropist. He made an enormous fortune in coke and steel operations and devoted much of his wealth to his passion for art and to philanthropy (he endowed several hospitals for example). Although he sometimes took expert advice (notably from Roger Fry), Frick essentially relied on his own taste and eye for quality. In addition to paintings, his purchases included drawings, prints, enamels, bronzes, and porcelain. On his death he left his New York mansion and a large fund to form the Frick Collection, which was opened to the public in 1935. It is generally regarded as one of the finest small museums in the world, with a choice collection of works from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century. Rembrandt's Polish Rider and Giovanni Bellini's St Francis are among the celebrated masterpieces in the collection. Frick's will stipulated that further acquisitions could be made and a few pictures have subsequently been added to the collection, maintaining the superb standards he set. Attached to the Frick Collection is the Frick Art Reference Library, which has major collections of books and photographs. It was founded in 1920 by Frick's daughter, HelenClayFrick (1888–1984). In 1970 she established the Frick Art Museum (now the Frick Art and Historical Center) in Pittsburgh, the city where her father had made his fortune.

Subjects: Art.

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