The Frick Collection: Collaboration to Access 25 Million Images of Art


The Frick Collection Leads International Collaboration
to Unlock Access to 25 Million Images of Artworks

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Consolidated Online Access to Transform Art Historical Research,
Enabling Scholars and General Public to Study Never-Before-Published Photoarchives
from Around the World

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Major Support From the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to
Provide Global Access to the Frick’s Photoarchive

In 2013, representatives from fourteen international institutions met at The Frick Collection to discuss the establishment of PHAROS, a gathering funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; photo: Michael Bodycomb

In an unprecedented effort to open new avenues for art historical research, The Frick Collection has partnered with thirteen art institutions to establish the PHAROS Art Research Consortium www.pharosartresearch.org, a digital research platform that will revolutionize access to photoarchives around the world. Led by Inge Reist, director of the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting and president of the international consortium, this long-term initiative will bring together photoarchive materials relating to more than 25 million works of art. These collections of images are also rich in previously unpublished related art historical documentation. Seven million images from the original partners are expected to be digitized and available by 2020, with future timelines for the group to be developed.

Eventually, PHAROS will expand to include records from additional photoarchives worldwide. PHAROS currently comprises the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Rome), Bildarchiv Foto (Marburg, Germany), Courtauld Institute (London), Fondazione Federico Zeri (Bologna), Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), I Tatti (Florence), Institut national d’histoire de l’art (Paris), Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Paul Mellon Centre (London), RKD –Netherlands Institute for Art History (The Hague), Warburg Institute (London), Yale Center for British Art (New Haven), and the Frick Art Reference Library (New York).

“The Frick has always been at the vanguard of art historical research,” said Ian Wardropper, director of The Frick Collection. “As early as 1922, Helen Clay Frick personally organized international photographic expeditions to record significant and rarely reproduced works of art, creating the first-ever public repository of its kind in the country. This documentation proved invaluable, especially at a time when most art history books were not widely available or heavily illustrated. Researchers today are accustomed to having online resources at their fingertips, and in order to ensure that our offerings remain relevant and accessible, they must be digitized and catalogued in a searchable central resource. It is our hope that this initiative will transform scholarship in the twenty-first century, by unlocking access to our collection and ones like it around the globe.”

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