Since its inauguration in 1935, the Frick Collection, installed in the former residence of collector Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), has practically remained in its original state. After years of postponed projects to renovate its building, the museum finally received the green light in 2018 from the commission for the protection of historic monuments.
Since that date, the museum board has been trying to find the necessary funding. Of the $290 million (€269 million) required, $242 million (€225 million) has already been raised, including $35 million by Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone (BX). The new 220-seat auditorium, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, will bear his name. With 83% of the necessary funds already collected, the New York museum is now beginning its fundraising phase from the public.
The project, entrusted to the Selldorf Architects firm, involves the renovation of the library for greater accessibility, as well as the creation of three new galleries on the first floor and a new educational room. Visitors will now be able to access the second floor where the Frick family’s private apartments were located. “This allows us to have 15 additional rooms upstairs to present the collection”thus increasing the exhibition area by 25%, explains the Manhattan museum on its site.
The adjoining garden, laid out in 1977 by the British landscaper Russell Page, will also be restored, while the technical and storage spaces will be completely renovated. The garden and the circular music room of the museum – which will be transformed into an exhibition space – had, however, been the subject of strong criticism from the collectives “Unite to Save the Frick” and “Stop Irresponsible Frick Development”, which opposed the expansion of the museum, believing that it undermined the integrity of the original residence transformed into a museum by John Russell in 1930.
The museum is scheduled to reopen in late 2024. In the meantime, works and exhibitions from the Frick Collection are temporarily housed in the Breuer Building, the former home of the Whitney Museum, recently acquired by Sotheby’s. The museum, which has been renting this space from the Metropolitan Museum in New York since 2022, will remain there until March 3, 2024.