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February 21, 2012

"Endangered Library Negatives of Works of Art in Private Collections"

William Barraud, A Piebald Hackney, 1838
Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches
Source: Frick Photoarchive, digital image 52282

Searching in vain for a painting by a now-obscure artist? One new place to check is the Frick Collection's digital image archive:

"Early in its history, The Frick Art Reference Library sponsored photographic expeditions throughout the United States as well as in Europe to document works of art not previously photographed, gaining entry to collections few researchers had any hope of seeing. The 57,000 large-format negatives that comprise this collection are, for the most part, unique visual records of lesser-known and previously unpublished works of art. The most substantial section of the collection is composed of negatives from the American campaigns. Between 1922 and 1967, Frick staff photographers conducted field trips to document works of art, primarily early American portraits, in American collections."

The current location of the painting shown above is unknown. But go to the Frick's site, and you may study the high-resolution copy of the library's negative. A "magnifying glass" feature allows you to see details of the image. And, clicking on "go to full library record" provides more information about the painting, including provenance and other bibliographic sources. Kudos to the Frick and its supporters, the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Henry Luce Foundation, for providing this resource.

Posted by sgarrett at February 21, 2012 11:00 AM

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