The Fifth Avenue garden, with its neoclassical urns and limestone façade, is grand and imposing. Set back from the sidewalk, behind the tall fence guarded by mythic iron griffins, the raised garden is presented like the stage of a theater, separating it from the busy world. Likewise, viewing the garden from the windows of the Fragonard Room, the Living Hall, and new Portico Gallery visually integrates the art and gardens in a way no other museum in the city can.
Indeed, in 2011, the portico at the north end of this garden was enclosed and its architectural features cleaned and conserved. Out of this underutilized space a new daylit gallery was created that affords our visitors a fresh prospect from which to enjoy the Fifth Avenue Garden. This green space is also the site of an annual Garden Party, a fundraiser through which supporters and the general public have special access to the long majestic lawn, terraced steps, magnolia trees, and rose garden.
The Garden Court at the heart of the museum, approximately 88 feet long and 50 feet wide, was designed by John Russell Pope to replace the open carriage court of the original Frick residence. The Court's paired Ionic columns and symmetrical planting beds were later echoed in Pope's design for the original building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Alternatively, the Seventieth Street Garden, designed by Russell Page in 1977, is soft and intimate. In the words of its designer, this elevated garden is to be viewed — from the street or through the arched windows of the Reception Hall — like an Impressionist painting.