Letter to Henry Clay Frick

James Howard Bridge (1858-1939)July 9, 1912

Frick Art Reference Library

Frick Art Reference Library
New York, United States

Autograph letter signed from James H. Bridge to Henry Clay Frick regarding a meeting with Thomas Hastings.


  • Title: Letter to Henry Clay Frick
  • Creator: James Howard Bridge (1858-1939)
  • Date Created: July 9, 1912
  • Transcript:
    Dear Mr. Frick, I spent a delightful hour with Mr. Hastings & caught much of his enthusiasm. He is a wonderful combination of idealism & practicability - a personified blend of the artistic & useful. At first I thought him governed solely by instinct, his "feeling" for the beauties of his art was so spontaneous; but soon I discovered that every detail of his conception had a scientific basis & that the placing of even a window-ledge must conform to the laws of light & shad. That he is putting his soul into this undertaking is obvious, & he frankly called it the "chance of a lifetime." This after designing the New York library, which most architects would regard as the culmination of a successful career. By careful questioning I found he had aimed to make a beautiful & comfortable home, with a picture gallery & organ annexes; and he appeared to have no suspicion that eventually it might be more. As you had chosen to limit his understanding of what was required, I did not feel at liberty to do more than "suppose" the building were subsequently to be used as a museum; and I found that with a few alterations it could be easily adapted to this end. The removal of a couple of walls at the south end would give a very large open area from which the organist could be seen by a numerous audience. And the fact that the organ will be built gainst [sic] a stairway having numerous window openings on to the large eastern court will make it possible to give organ recitals to a vast number of people seated out of doors - a feature at once unique, convenient, & one that will be greatly enjoyed during the hot summer evenings if you ever choose to utilize your home this way. At the same time the museum idea does not seem to be of very great importance just now. The thing is to have a worthy & homey residence for yourself. During the next twenty years, you will have lots of time to develop ideas for public work. The home as planned promises to be just that - a home, inside. Exteriorily it will be impressive & beautiful because of its simplicity which be a hair's breadth escapes severity. With kindest regards to Mrs. Frick & Miss Helen. Very sincerely yours. J.H. Bridge
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  • Original Source: Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series II: Correspondence
  • Rights: The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives, Reference: To be scanned

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