As with Andrew Carnegie on 11/25, this is a slightly conflicted celebration, but, regardless, a happy birthday to robber baron and art lover Henry Clay Frick (19 December 1849–2 December 1919), who bequeathed to the city of New York my second favorite museum in Manhattan.
Apparently, he was once considered “the worst man in America” for his brutal business practice (and his pasttimes helped cause the Johnstown Flood). In his favor, he amassed one of the most remarkable collections of art in the world—a collection chosen primarily by himself according to his own tastes and inclinations, and of which he was so fond that he would sometimes come down to his gallery in the middle of the night and sit for hours gazing at one of his favorites.
That’s kind of endearing, right?
Above, Frick in a portrait by John Christen Johansen (1943), currently hanging in the library of his former home, now the site of the museum housing his collection.