Frederick Mortimer Clapp

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Frederick Mortimer Clapp (July 26, 1879 – December 15, 1969[1]) was the first Director of the Frick Collection in Manhattan, New York, as well as a poet, and art historian. Clapp was the organizing Director at the Frick Collection from 1931 to 1935 and the first Director from 1935 to 1950.


Frederick M. Clapp attended the City College of New York 1896–1898 and received his B. A. and M.A. from and Yale University 1899–1902, and at the University of Paris (Docteur és Lettres, 1914).[2] He taught at City College of New York. Frank also worked at Princeton University. He married Maud Caroline Ede (Clapp) (1876–1960), an artist from Florence.[3] In 1909, Frederick began studying at the Sorbonne to receive his PhD, and began publishing poetry in 1916.[3]

Frederick Mortimer Clapp joined the Aviation section of the U.S. Army, prior to the creation of the air force, and was a First Lieutenant in the Signal Corps and pilot in World War I.[2] When he returned from war, Clapp published art historical writings, often in the Princeton Journal, "Art Studies."[3] In 1926, Clapp became chair of the Art History program at the University of Pittsburgh. There, he developed the school's art library and photography collection. He was named adviser to the Frick Collection in 1931, and oversaw the development of the Frick residence into a museum in 1933, hiring the architect, John Russell Pope, and opening the museum in 1935. Frederick Mortimer Clapp was officially named director of the Frick Collection in 1936. He retired in 1951 and died in New York City December 15, 1969.

Frederick Mortimer Clapp was an advocate of Art History and Fine Arts University programs and spoke on the matter in public addresses.[4]

"Art is difficult and intricate– a beneficent strain upon the memory and so fascinating in its delicate adjustments that it triumphs over our utmost subtlety. These are all reasons why art demands severest study."

— Frederick Mortimer Clapp, What can a department of the history of art amount to? 1929.

Bibliography of Works[edit]

  • 1916. On the overland, and other poems. New York: Yale university press.
  • 1918. "New York and Other Verses" Boston: Marshall Jones Company, The University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1926. "Cuneiform". Poetry. 28 (5): 262.
  • 1926. "Domus Domini". Poetry. 28 (5): 263-264.
  • 1926. "Harvesting Ice". Poetry. 28 (5): 264-265.
  • 1925. Arhats in art. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • 1926. "Awake Too Soon". Poetry. 28 (5): 265.
  • 1929. What can a department of the history of art amount to? Paper given at the 33rd meeting at the Educational Clinic held in Pittsburgh.[1]
  • 1936. New poems. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • 1938. Said before sunset. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • 1943. Against a background on fire, 1938–1943. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • 1947. The seeming real, 1943–1946. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • 1972. Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo his life and work. New York: Junius Press.


  • Frederick Mortimer Clapp 1879–1967. (Memorial catalogue). Frick Art Reference Library.[2]


  1. ^ "Finding Aid for The Frick Collection Records of the Organizing Director - Frederick Mortimer Clapp, 1920-1937 TFC.0300.010". The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  2. ^ a b Frederick Mortimer Clapp 1879-1967. (Memorial catalogue). Frick Art Reference Library.
  3. ^ a b c "Frederick M. Clapp; Frederick Clapp". Dictionary of Art Historians. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  4. ^ 1929. What can a department of the history of art amount to? Paper given at the 33rd meeting at the Educational Clinic held in Pittsburgh.

External links[edit]