The Frick Art Reference Library Photoarchive recently received a $25,000 grant from the Kress Foundation to support the creation of a toolkit that will perform computer vision analysis on digitized art historical photo archives. John Resig, Dean of Computer Science at Khan Academy, will carry out the project. This toolkit will be a groundbreaking application of technology that will transform the way photo archives are used.
The Frick Art Reference Library’s Photoarchive consists of more than 1,000,000 reproductions of works of art of the Western tradition dating from the 4th to the mid-20th century. Although photoarchives were the foundation of art historical study in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these extraordinary resources, which allow researchers to review comprehensive holdings of individual artists and regional schools, have become increasingly rare during the past decade. Because of limitations of space, staff, or funds, many photoarchives have been dismantled. Several historic research collections, however, including those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, have been preserved in part or in their entirety at the Frick Art Reference Library. Scholars, students, dealers, and artists active in New York City now have access to a diverse collection of study photographs in one location.