Review: Summer Night at The Frick Collection Jul. 15, 2016

Bottom Line: Through events like its free Summer Nights series, the Frick Collection has gone from underdog to major contender in attracting new and often  younger crowds.

© Lucas Chilczuk Photography Frick

A couple touring one of the main galleries. Note the J.M.W. Turner painting in the background. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

Frick dessinatrices

Smiles and sketches! The Frick provided pencils and paper to those brave enough to sketch. © WhereNYC

Review: It was an amazing night; the museum was packed as the line of people queuing to get in wrapped around the block. In all my years of visiting the Frick, I had rarely seen it this crowded. In the interior garden, guests sketched statues by the fountain while listening to live classical music and sipping sparkling water. In spite of more people wandering in, the Frick still retained its unique, therapeutic vibe. The sounds of the string duet mixed with running water and sketchers’ laughter only added to the calm atmosphere.

© Lucas Chilczuk Photography Frick

No words needed. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

The museum’s organization of the event was impressive. Each guest received a schedule of guided tours and got links to the audioguide app. Nothing, however, felt rushed. One could grab a complimentary pad and pencil and draw or freely view the galleries.

Lucas Chilczuk Photography Frick

Students from the Juilliard School played classical music. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

Curious first-time patrons joined the free guided tours, which included the Meissen exhibit on the Chinese and Japanese influences of German porcelain. Other tours of permanent collections took guests through the sculptures and paintings by James McNeill Whistler. For fans of Vermeer, the Frick Collection has three of the 12 works on public display in the U.S.


Frick’s guided tours were well-planned and informative. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

The Frick Collection is one of New York’s most beautiful museums, hands down. Understated, yet beautifully elegant, and rich in refinement without being pretentious. And whereas larger museums such as the Metropolitan, Moma or Natural History, although amazing, can sometimes overwhelm with their sheer size and plethora of exhibits. Being a smaller institution, however, has a special advantage because you never feel like you’ve seen too much. The Frick’s artwork is also well spaced, allowing visitors to easily access the galleries without overcrowding.

©Lucas Chilczuk Photography Frick

Gazing into another world. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

Since it began in June, the Frick Collection Summer Night series has helped get the word out about the museum and bring in new people. According to Heidi Rosenau at The Frick Collection, the majority of visitors polled at last month’s free event were newcomers with many having never heard of the museum.

© Lucas Chilczuk Photography Frick

The event brought in new, younger crowds. © Lucas Chilczuk Photography

Similarly to First Tuesdays at FIAF or the monthly Himalayan Heritage Night at the Rubin, The Frick Collection plans to make First Fridays a regular monthly open house, where people can enjoy tours of exhibits or simply sketch with their friends. In the end, it was time to go, but as we left, more visitors were pouring in. Don’t miss the Frick’s next Summer Night in August.