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Henry Clay Frick: An Intimate Portrait

Sanger, Martha Frick Symington

25 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0789205009 / ISBN 13: 9780789205001
Published by Abbeville Press, New York, 1998
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Monroe Street Books (Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since December 5, 1997

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

599 pages, black cloth over boards; 390 figures, 190 b&w and 200 color; weighs just over 6 lbs. An extensive, in-depth biography of Henry Clay Frick, written by his great-granddaughter and based on her own memories as well as family letters, diaries, and other documents. Clean, very good in a Record # 409200. Bookseller Inventory # 409200

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Henry Clay Frick: An Intimate Portrait

Publisher: Abbeville Press, New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


With unprecedented access to personal letters, private family diaries, and the Frick archives at the Frick Collection in New York City and at family residences in Pittsburgh, Martha Frick Symington Sanger has written a unique and penetrating account of the life and times of Henry Clay Frick and his family. In addition, the author explains in this meticulously researched book the reason why Frick and his daughter Helen selected the paintings, sculpture, and other items that are included in the collection.

Since 1935 the magnificent art treasures of the Frick Collections have been open to the public in the New York City mansion that the family occupied. This book will enrich any visitor's experience of the Frick Collection in a way that had not been possible in previous books. The intriguing topics covered here include Frick's complex relationship with Andrew Carnegie and with other well-known business magnates; his harsh personal life darkened by the deaths of a younger daughter and infant son; and a sensitive portrayal of his daughter Helen, who was a Frick Collection trustee and chairman of the Art Acquisitions Committee after her father's death.

Illustrating this book are 370 pictures ranging from paintings and sculpture in the Frick Collection to family portraits and historical images. This biography of a key figure in the development of American industry will appeal to both art history lovers and to historians, offering a singular and compelling reading and visual experience.


Henry Frick, remembered by art lovers today for his splendid collection of old-master paintings by Rembrandt, Bellini, and others that make up New York's Frick Museum, was one of the 19th century's worst robber barons. Brutal with workers, he never hesitated to hire mercenary armies to kill railway and mine strikers. Frick's was such a bloody and vicious climb to a pot of gold that his descendents have been understandably reluctant to allow historians full access to his papers. Finally, his great-granddaughter, Martha Sanger, a noted steeplechase and hunting enthusiast, decided to write about the life of her ancestor, and was allowed full use of the archives.

Sanger's publisher, Abbeville, has done her proud with a luxuriously produced volume in which Sanger offers many theories about why Frick bought certain works of art. And although art historians may dismiss her black-and-white analyses of a collector's motivations--based, as she admits, on her own years in psychoanalysis--they at least reflect how Frick's own family saw him. Among the reproductions are famous pictures by Goya, Greco, and Gainsborough, but also many others rarely reproduced, perhaps because they are typically bad-taste 19th-century art, showing that even Frick bought some duds. Whether or not he acquired paintings, as Sanger asserts, because they reminded him of a daughter who died in early childhood, Frick was still a major historical figure, and his life needs this kind of voluminous treatment in order to complement harsher portraits by professional historians like Samuel Schreiner, who subtitled his own 1995 book from St. Martins Press The Gospel of Greed. --Benjamin Ivry

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Monroe Street Books. Owners: Richard and Flanzy Chodkowski. Mailing address: Monroe Street Books, 70 Monroe Street, Middlebury, Vermont 05753 USA. Store Located at: 1485 Route 7 North, Middlebury, Vermont 05753 USA. Phone: 1-802-398-2200 Email:
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