Henry Clay Frick

An Intimate Portrait

Release Date
Format Hardcover 600 pages 8 x 10.5 inches 370 illustrations, 225 in full color
ISBN-13 978-0-78920-500-1

For the first time a great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick, world famous art collector and steel tycoon, has assembled an intimate, pictorial biography that reveals the triumphs and tragedies of Frick's life.

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.


WINNER of the New York Book Show Award

"The life of Henry Clay Frick — industrialist, coke magnate and, later, Andrew Carnegie’s partner in the steel business — is fascinatingly chronicled in this volume by his great-granddaughter Martha Frick Symington Sanger. In taking a decidedly psychological approach to her subject, Ms. Sanger may have explained a mystery that has perplexed Frick’s past biographers: What motivated one of the most notorious of the turn-of-the-century robber barons to begin collecting paintings and other artwork so assiduously?" -- Vartan Gregorian for The Opinion Journal

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