The Frick Art Reference Library was established in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry Clay Frick, founder of the adjacent museum. Each year the Library serves approximately six thousand individuals with a serious interest in art, primarily scholars, museum and art market professionals, collectors, and graduate students. One of the world’s most valued art research centers for the study of art in the Western tradition, it is also one of the most complete resources for the study of collecting and patronage. The Library’s book and photograph collections relate chiefly to the fine arts and selected categories of the decorative arts from the fourth to the mid-twentieth century by artists from Europe and the Americas.
Known internationally for its rich holdings of auction and exhibition catalogs, the Library is a leading site for provenance research. Its renowned Photoarchive of more than one million photographs documents the work of 36,000 artists. Archival and special collections supplement over 350,000 volumes of textual materials. The Center for the History of Collecting in America was established in 2007 to stimulate awareness and study of the formation of fine and decorative arts collections from Colonial times to the present. The Library maintains an active program of lectures, exhibitions, academic affiliations, and fellowships.
The Frick's online catalog is FRESCO, which is part of Arcade.