From the pyramids of Egypt to the castles of the Loire Valley, Henry Clay Frick and his family took some enviable vacations in their time. They spared no expense in their travels and enjoyed trips that often lasted for months on end. The Archives of The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library recently posted photograph albums from three of these trips in the Frick Digital Image Archive. The albums document travels in 1905, 1909, and 1912, and include views of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. They were scanned by the Library’s Digital Imaging Lab, both as a means to capture and preserve their content, and as a way of providing greater access to these unique resources.
The second phase of a two-year collaborative project to document the New York City art scene at the turn of the 20th century by digitizing exhibition catalogs held at the Frick Art Reference Library and the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives has been completed. The materials are now available to researchers worldwide through Arcade. Phase II of this digital collection, “Documenting the Gilded Age: New York City Exhibitions at the Turn of the 20th Century” has been made possible by a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).
Timepieces from The Frick Collection are on display in its Portico Gallery through the beginning of 2014. Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection highlights eleven clocks and fourteen watches from the 1999 bequest of Winthrop Kellogg Edey, as well as five eighteenth-century French clocks on loan from Horace Wood Brock. Represented in the exhibition are European timepieces from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century.
Part of my job as an intern at the Frick Art Reference Library this past summer entailed looking through the periodicals collection—more specifically, assessing the condition of old magazines, journals, and newspapers. After examining dozens of publications, I concluded that nothing is more telling of a time or generation than the advertisements, headlines, editorial opinions, and photographs contained within their pages, including the documenting of artists and artworks through text and images.
Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program to train next generation art and museum librarians in the NYARC libraries. M-LEAD-TWO (Museum Library Education and Digitization Technology-Web-Online) is a three year grant that provides scholarship support for 15 diverse MSLIS students (five per year) and a two-semester paid internship program.
As the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) intern for 2012, I am fortunate to be spending time at all three New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) libraries. The Frick Art Reference Library and those of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) share many attributes. One of these is the important role that collecting expeditions played in increasing the holdings of each institution. Interestingly, in the early twentieth century these libraries supported major expeditions that were led by women. These bold travelers came from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic classes and were ahead of their time.
The Frick Art Reference Library is proud to host the Montias Database of Dutch Art Inventories, compiled by the late Yale University professor of economics John Michael Montias (1928–2005). The database contains information from 1,280 inventories, stored in the Stadsarchief Amsterdam (State Archive), of paintings, prints, sculpture, furniture, and other goods owned by people living in Amsterdam during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This information includes records for the 51,071 individual works of art listed in the inventories and is therefore an invaluable research tool that can help elucidate patterns of buying, selling, inventorying, and collecting art in Holland during the Dutch Golden Age.
The Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offer many resources for scholars investigating Central European modernism. In conducting research related to the visual arts in Prague between the two World Wars, I was impressed by the number of publications dedicated to this topic and particularly to the highly important Czech modernist artist, critic, author, journalist, playwright, and stage designer Josef Čapek (1887–1945) about whom unfortunately little is known outside the Czech Republic. He is beloved among Czech children as the author and illustrator of the Doggie and Pussycat series of stories, but his importance within the modernist movement far exceeds this aspect of his popularity. In addition to his own work, he wrote plays with his brother, Karel (1890–1938), including the seminal Insect Play and R.U.R.