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Frederick Carl Frieseke BiographyAmerican painter
born 1874 - died 1939
Frederick Carl Frieseke was
born in Owosso, Michigan on April 7, 1874 to
Herman Carl and Eva (Graham) Frieseke. His
father manufactured bricks, including those
used to build his boyhood home.
Following his mother's death when he
was six years old, Frederick Carl Frieseke spent some time living
with his aunt and uncle, Mr. & Mrs. C. C.
Duff and working in his uncle's grocery
In 1906 he rented the house next door
to Claude Monet in Giverny, France for the
summer. Frederick Carl Frieseke and his
wife, Sarah Ann O'Bryan, whom he married in 1905, and later their
daughter Frances spent their summers there
until about 1919. Many of Frederick Carl Frieseke
paintings were set in this house or its
His paintings won many honors beginning with a silver medal at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904; he also won the gold medal in Munich that same year. The climax in a succession of honors was reached in 1915 when Frederick Carl Frieseke won the grand prize at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. In 1920 his painting Torn Lingerie won two gold medals and the popular prize at the Chicago Art Institute, based upon the opinions of both other artists and the general public.
In 1904 the French government purchased his
Before the Glass, and it was hung in the
Luxembourg Gallery. In 1912, after his first
solo exhibition, Wanamaker gave Frieseke's
La Toilette to the Metropolitan Museum in
New York. Many other museums were also to
acquire his paintings including The Art
Institute of Chicago, The Minneapolis
Institute of Art, The Detroit Institute of
Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in
Washington, D.C., and the Modern Gallery in
Venice, Italy. Two of his paintings have
hung in the Shiawassee District
Library--Lady With the Sunshade, which was a
gift to the city of Owosso in 1926, and
Holland 1898. A number of other museums,
private individuals, and the Shiawassee Art
Council also have some of his paintings.
After World War I there was a slow but steady decline in his popularity. In spite of continuing awards and the acquisition of his paintings by a number of museums, diminishing sales and negative reviews reflected a change in tastes. Critics saw his painting as outmoded and overly conservative and Frederick Carl Frieseke as a painter of pretty women. It was also during this time that the mood of his paintings became more contemplative, his colors more somber, and his compositions more static. His style was becoming less French Impressionist and moving more towards realism.
|Frederick Carl Frieseke said that "I never compose a picture before Nature, but I paint what I see that is interesting, and which appeals to me at that moment. I put down whatever I see before me. I avoid being conventional as much as possible, for most picture making is conventional. I never change the drawing of a tree, or leave out a bed of flowers. I may not see them, if they do not add to the beauty of the whole." However, his family remembered his wife editing Frederick Carl Frieseke paintings by removing things from the top of bureaus and tables which she did not want seen. Frieseke died August 24, 1939 in Normandy and was buried at Mesnil-sur-Blangy in France. Ironically, it is his girl bodys which were never popular with the American public that are considered to be his best paintings. Frederick Carl Frieseke paintings have also regained some of their original popularity and frequently command high prices at auction.||
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