Why Now?

The institution’s desire to construct  classrooms, an enlarged auditorium, and updated conservation facilities predates the growth of the collection and increase in attendance experienced in recent years. Properly caring for and providing easy access to Henry Clay Frick’s magnificent art collection and mansion is at the core of the Frick’s mission.

In the 1970s, general plans were drawn up for an addition, but the poor economic climate of the period, when the last parcel was acquired, led the Frick’s Trustees to reconsider the feasibility of the project.  Instead, they decided to build a modest addition in 1977.

The Frick today not only has the ability to raise funds but also developed a new approach to address long-identified, mission-driven goals. Following a comprehensive search and selection process, the Frick is working closely with Selldorf Architects to develop a design that will enable the Frick to catch up needs that have evolved over time as its growing collection and broadening scope of educational offering has brought higher attendance numbers and a more deeply engaged public, as evidenced by the numbers below.

The graph at right shows a gentle but notable rise in annual attendance during regular museum hours over a period of many decades. The 2013 spike corresponds to exceptional attendance during an exhibition of paintings on loan from the Mauritshuis.

Works in The Frick Collection in 1935: 635
Works in The Frick Collection in 2016: 1,360

Number of Exhibitions per year, 1960 to 1969: 1
Number of Exhibitions per year, 2011 to 2017: 5.42

Total attendees averaged per calendar year for concerts and lectures, 1960 to 1969: 18,684
Total attendees per year for concerts, lectures, seminars, and all other education programming at museum and library:
Fiscal year 2016: 24,055
Fiscal year 2017: 31,207
Increase in past two years: 29.74%

For a sense of the substantial growth in range of public programming offered and audiences now served, read here.

One of five top art research libraries in the world
27% of publications unique to the library
On-site visits to the library FY 2017: 5,823 (does not include books lent to other institutions)
Percentage of new readership in FY 2017: 18%
Use of online Frick catalogue (FRESCO) in FY 2017: 57,427 queries
Use of online joint catalogue (ARCADE, which links resources of Frick, MoMA, & Brooklyn Museum libraries) in FY 2017: 158,182 queries