Director of Frick Museum in New York to Step Down in 2025

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Frick Museum director Ian Wardropper. Photo by Richard Renaldi. Image courtesy The Frick. ©Richard Renaldi.

If you are a regular at the Frick Museum in New York, you might have experienced the touch and the expertise of the museum’s longtime director, Ian Wardropper. It is rather unfortunate that the museum has announced Ian’s retirement in 2025.

He has been the director of the Frick Collection for 14 years out of his 50 years as a museum worker. Ian’s retirement announcement was made by the Frick Museum through a statement on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

Ian whose official title is the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen director, has experienced and seen some of the most uncomfortable situations with the museum -moving out of the Fifth Avenue mansion for years-long renovation- but he will work to restore stability and a return to the headquarters before his departure in 2025, Artnet reports.

The Frick’s statement carrying Ian’s retirement announcement eulogised and acknowledged the latter as the brain behind many of the museum’s development projects.

“Wardropper led the museum and library through a period of strategic and measured growth, which included the first comprehensive renovation and upgrade of the Frick’s historic buildings in nearly 90 years and a focused acquisitions program that has enhanced the institution’s art and library collections. He also prioritized accessibility and public outreach,” parts of the Frick statement read.

Moving out of the Frick mansion at Fith Avenue was Ian’s way of “killing two birds with a stone”. The first is the deserved years-long renovation the over 90-year-old Frick mansion is currently undergoing and the second is the swift move to occupy the Madison Avenue space largely used by the New York Met Museum of Art for its Met Breuer. Ian jumped at the opportunity when the Met Museum announced it will not be using the space in 2020 to create Frick Madison.

Ian Wardropper also spearheaded the popular “Cocktails With A Curator” online video series during the pandemic which was later transformed into a book. This, he explained to Artnet was a way to get the younger generation interested in the art scene and market.

“One of the big challenges for more traditional museums—and we are focused on Old Master art—is the existential question of how do you get younger audiences interested in what we have. There is no one solution, so we’re trying all kinds of different things,” he said.

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