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Henry Clay and Helen Frick

Artist
Edmund Charles Tarbell, 26 Apr 1862 - 1 Aug 1938
Sitter
Henry Clay Frick, 19 Dec 1849 - 2 Dec 1919
Helen Clay Frick, 2 Sep 1888 - Nov 1984
Date
c. 1910
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 78.7 x 59.1 x 2.5cm (31 x 23 1/4 x 1")
Frame: 90.5 x 70.2 x 3.8cm (35 5/8 x 27 5/8 x 1 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.81.121
Exhibition Label
Like fellow industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick grew up in a family of limited means. Yet by age thirty he had made his first million dollars and had positioned himself as a key player in America's industrial development. Believing that steel would be the principal building material of the future, Frick amassed his fortune first by supplying coke-fuel made from coal-to the steel industry and later by partnering with Carnegie to create the world's largest steel company. A cutthroat businessman who opposed labor unions, Frick was aggressive in making his operations more efficient. In 1892, during a violent confrontation with steelworkers in Homestead, Pennsylvania, he did not hesitate to call in guards from the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the state militia to break the union's resolve. This double portrait shows the industrialist with his daughter Helen.
Provenance
The artist; his daughter Mrs. Josephine Tarbell Ferrell; her daughters Mrs. Albert Cannon, Charleston, and Mrs. John W. McLain, Madison, Va.; purchased 1981 through (Carolina Prints & Frames, Charleston, S.C.) by NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 123