Frick Art Reference Library Photoarchives


The Frick Art Reference Library Photoarchives collaboration with ARTstor includes three major collections totaling nearly 25,000 images.

The Frick Art Reference Library was founded by Helen Clay Frick in 1920 "to encourage and develop the study of the fine arts, and to advance the general knowledge of kindred subjects." Today, it is one of the outstanding art history libraries in the United States. In addition to a book collection relating to European and American fine arts and decorative arts from the 4th to the mid-20th century, the library also houses an extensive photographic research archive. The Photoarchive holds over one million photographs that document the work of over 36,000 artists.

Within the Photoarchive, there are approximately 60,000 large-format negatives, which resulted from photo-expeditions sponsored by Ms. Frick in the United States and Europe from 1920-1967. During these campaigns, commissioned photographers gained access to churches, historic monuments, and private collections to photograph works of art. In some cases, these negatives are the only visual record of works that have subsequently been damaged, lost, or destroyed. Scholars also prize the Photoarchive's documentation of lesser-known works in collections that are generally unavailable to the public and are thereby largely unpublished. In an effort to preserve and expand access to these often fragile negatives, the Frick Art Reference Library has undertaken several digitization projects through this partnership with ARTstor.

Go to the top of the page

Collection information

Total size of collection* 24,880
Percentage of completion 100%
Search terms frick photoarchives OR frick cooper OR frick sansoni
Collection URL

* Image totals should be regarded as an approximation until a given collection is 100% complete. Users should also bear in mind that the number of images available to them may vary from country to country, reflecting ARTstor’s approach to addressing an international copyright landscape that itself varies from country to country.

Last updated: April 14, 2010

Visit the Artstor Blog Like Artstor on Facebook Follow Artstor on Twitter Watch Artstor videos on YouTube