Frederick Carl Frieseke Paintings

1874 - 1939

Born 1874, in Owosso (Michigan); died 1939, in Le Mesnil-sur-Blangy (Calvados), France. Frederick Carl Frieseke studied at the Chicago School of Fine Arts from 1884, and at the Art Students League, New York. In 1888, he went to the Académie Julian in Paris, where he worked under Benjamin-Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens, also receiving advice from Whistler. In Paris, he also became acquainted with the work of contemporary artists, particularly Fantin-Latour and Renoir, and discovered Giverny, which he visited frequently during the summer months. In 1906, having achieved a degree of financial and artistic success, Frieseke was able to buy Théodore Robinson’s former house in Giverny, which was next door to Monet’s. In 1919, he moved to the Normandy village, Le Mesnil-sur-Blangy, where, after a brief return to the USA in 1937, he died.

Frieseke primarily painted female figures and nudes, such as Woman with a Mirror, Young Girl Playing the Piano or Model in front of a Screen, gradually progressing to intimate scenes of women and, like Renoir, voluptuous nudes posed in the open air, their bodies lit by sunlight filtered through foliage. His methods ranged from a strictly Impressionist technique of separate brushstrokes, to one approaching divisionism, as in Mrs Whitman’s Garden of about 1912, to a broader application of colour, as in Ladies in a Boat in Giverny of 1910. At times, he even went beyond Impressionism to a manner inspired by Fauvism, heightening the colours – mauves, blues and pinks – to ‘exaggerate the effect’. At the same time, Frieseke was also concerned, like Degas, with traditional figure painting, despite often setting them in an Impressionist-style landscape, as in Hollyhocks of 1912-1913.

Frieseke took part in many group exhibitions in Paris, including the Salon des Artistes Français and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, of which he became an associate member in 1901 and a permanent member in 1907. He held a solo show at the Venice Biennale in 1909, followed by another in Rome in 1911, and a show in New York in 1912. He received a number of distinctions: 1909, a gold medal at the Munich International Exhibition; 1913, the Temple Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; 1915, the Grand Prix at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, San Francisco; 1915, a gold medal at the Philadelphia Art Club; and was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Group Exhibitions

1982, American Impressionists (Impressionnistes Américains), Musée du Petit Palais, Paris
2002, American Impressionism 1880-1915 (L’Impressionnisme américain 1880-1915), Fondation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne
2008, Portrait of a Lady: Paintings and Photographs of American Women in France 1870-1915, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux
Solo Exhibitions

1974, Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, Savannah (retrospective)
2001, Frederick Carl Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Atlanta (High MA): Girl in Blue (c. 1918, oil on canvas)
Blérencourt (Mus. Franco-américain du Château): In Front of the Mirror (1903)
Boston (MFA): The Yellow Room (c. 1910, oil on canvas)
Chicago (Terra Foundation for American Art Collection): The Green Sash (1904, oil on canvas); Breakfast in the Garden (c. 1911, oil on canvas); Lady in a Garden (c. 1912, oil on canvas); Lilies (by 1911, oil on canvas); Unraveling Silk (c. 1915, oil on canvas)
Detroit (IA): The Blue Gown (1917, oil on canvas)
Houston (MFA): Girl Reading (c. 1903-1904, oil on canvas)
Liverpool (Walker AG): Lady in Pink (1902)
Los Angeles (County MA): Youth (1926, oil on canvas)
Lugano (Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection): Hollyhocks (1912-1913)
New York (Metropolitan Mus. of Art): Woman with a Mirror (1911, oil on canvas); Summer (1914, oil on canvas)
Philadelphia (MA): The Rose Peignoir (c. 1915, oil on canvas)
Richmond (Virginia MFA): Blue Interior: Giverny (The Red Ribbon) (c. 1912-1913, oil on canvas)
St Louis (AM)
Washington DC (Corcoran Gal. of Art): Peace (1917)
Washington DC (NGA): The Basket of Flowers (c. 1913-1917, oil on canvas); Memories (1915, oil on canvas)
Washington DC (Smithsonian American AM): Nude Seated at Her Dressing Table (1909, oil on canvas)
Youngstown (Butler Institute of American Art): Good Morning (c. 1912-1913, oil on canvas)