At Home With Art: Explore These House Museums

From Frick to Frida Kahlo, discover art that's housed at home

By Google Arts & Culture

The Frick Collection, New York (2016/2016) by -Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Many of the world's museums house vast collections in huge, bespoke buildings built for the purpose. But 'house museums' sometimes offer a more homely setting for a select collection of art and artefacts.

Whether it's the former home of an artist showcasing their work alongside personal possessions, or a larger operation like Henry Clay Frick's collection of art exhibited in his Manhattan residency, house museums are an intimate and unique experience. Scroll on to explore a few.

1. The Frick Collection, New York

Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist who made his millions in the 19th Century. He lived here, at Frick Mansion, which he built on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Click and drag to explore, then scroll on to step inside.

Completed in 1914, the Neoclassical mansion includes an interior courtyard and a raised garden full of magnolia trees. Keep clicking to explore.

When he died, Frick left the house and its contents to the public as a museum. An art patron during his life, he amassed a large collection of Old Masters paintings by artists like El Greco and Hans Holbein, which you can wander through here.

St. Francis in the Desert (Around 1480) by Giovanni BelliniThe Frick Collection

'St. Francis in Ecstasy', Giovanni Bellini

Sometimes called 'the finest Renaissance painting in America', Bellini's picture of St Francis is a highlight of the Frick Collection. It's a revelatory painting, combining spirituality with a lovingly detailed depiction of the natural world.

St. Francis steps from his desk into the clean light, opening himself up to an invisible blessing. His hands bear the faintest suggestion of Christ's stigmata, and he's surrounded by rich natural life. Can you spot the rabbit in the wall? Zoom in for yourself, here.

2. The Charles Dickens Museum, London

48 Doughty Street in the London Borough of Camden was once the home of great English novelist, Charles Dickens. It is now the Charles Dickens Museum, after being saved from demolition in 1923. Click and drag to explore the Georgian hallways and rooms.

A Dickens Christmas by Charles Dickens Museum

The collection includes Dickens memorabilia, manuscripts, and objects of interest. Here's a Dickensian illustration of Twelfth Night, the biggest Winter Festival of the Victorian season. Zoom in to the full cast of characters here.

3. Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo House-Studio Museum, Mexico City

Designed by visionary architect, Juan O'Gorman, these unique buildings were the homes of Frida Kahlo and her husband, the famous mural painter Diego Rivera, as well as the architect's father, from 1934 onward (though Kahlo came and went from Coyoacan).

Rivera and Kahlo had studios in the building. Now a museum honoring both artists, the house retains Rivera's collection of 'Judas' sculptures, made from papier-mâché by his close friend, the artist Carmen Caballero. Can you spot a red, balloon-shaped head on the wall?

Cabeza (ca. 1935) by Carmen CaballeroMuseo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

Cabeza, Carmen Caballero

Rivera and Kahlo both took great interest in Mexican folk-art. Carmen Caballero was a folk artist who specialized in stylized effigies of Judas Iscariot, which were traditionally filled with fireworks and exploded above crowds at the festival of Sabado de Gloria (Holy Saturday).

Caballero was a particular favorite of Rivera's and he collected her work obsessively. Judas, who betrayed Christ with a kiss, is depicted as a sneering, duplicitous devil-man, and his explosive demise is the highlight of the Holy Saturday festivities. Zoom in for yourself here.

4. Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City

Another house museum dedicated to Frida Kahlo, the famous Casa Azul is the building in which Kahlo was born, and in which she died. It was her home at various points throughout her life, and is now the Museo Frida Kahlo. Click and drag to walk the grounds.

Viva la vida (1954) by Frida KahloMuseo Frida Kahlo

'Viva La Vida', Frida Kahlo

The museum's collection, fittingly, includes the final painting Kahlo produced, Viva La Vida (1954). It's a celebratory picture, plump with juice and seeds, ripe with the fullness of life. Viva la Frida!

That Kahlo, who confronted injury, infidelity, illness, oppression, and political struggle against what she saw as the imperialist United States, could paint a final work celebrating life, is inspiring, even if the slightly rotting skin of one melon reminds us of mortality...

The Frick Collection, New York (2016/2016) by -Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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