The Frick Pittsburgh Celebrates New Exhibition with The Frick Fête

Gilded Age heiress Helen Clay Frick started hosting parties at her lavish mansion, now the Frick Pittsburgh, when she was only sixteen years old. Though when you hear “Frick,” you might usually think of industrial baron Henry, his daughter Helen was as interested in philanthropy as he was. Helen hosted holiday gatherings at the Clayton mansion grounds to benefit children in poverty in the Pittsburgh region. She would often invite them to share meals with her and her family on Clayton, the family estate where the museum now resides.

Though the Fricks have a complex legacy. (Some might remember that when an emissary of rival industrialist Andrew Carnegie asked Henry Clay Frick for a final meeting on his deathbed, Frick responded: “Tell him that I’ll see him in hell.”) It’s thanks to Helen that Pittsburgh has its own Frick-funded museum to contend with New York’s Frick Collection.

Helen would be happy to know that the museum is continuing her legacy of throwing parties. On June 22, the Frick Pittsburgh will be open for the Frick Fête, a Gilded Age party featuring cocktails inspired by the collection, with one complimentary drink and a cash bar. Luxury pastry designer Alex Robba is also designing a custom cake.

What to Wear

While the Frick is not requiring Gilded Age attire, it’s a rare opportunity to dress up in decadence and dance the night away to live accompaniment by Keynote.Though you’re not likely to find much in the way of Gilded Age gowns, many of Pittsburgh’s vintage shopping options have a wide range of quirky fashion treasures to put your own spin on a haute couture look. We suggest Three Rivers’ Vintage on the South Side, which has clothing items dating all the way back to the 1860s.

A Legacy of Luxury

The Frick Fête celebrates the success of Vermeer, Monet, and Rembrandt which is the first time that Helen and her father’s collections are on view together, in a combination of works from New York and Pittsburgh. Vermeer, Monet, Rembrandt contends with the legacy of the Frick family and asks viewers to reflect on how the most moneyed among us in society have contributed positively (and can still!) through philanthropy and support for the arts.

While most billionaires are investing in tech or AI, the legacy of the Fricks and the Carnegies is a reminder that wealth doesn’t have to just be stocks and bonds, but also a celebration of beauty. Plus, the tickets to the Frick Fête are an extremely reasonable $75, so if you missed the Met Gala, this is a much more accessible way to feel like your fanciest this summer.

Story by Emma Riva / Image courtesy of the Frick Pittsburgh

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