FREDERICK CARL FRIESEKE1874-1939
American Impressionist Frederick Carl Frieseke was born in Owosso, Michigan in 1874. In 1881, following the death of his mother, Frieseke moved with his family to Jacksonville, Florida. Inspired by a visit to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago when he was eighteen, he began attending classes at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1893 to 1896, and was a member of the Bohemian Club there. He moved to New York City where he enrolled in the men’s afternoon life drawing class at the Art Students League. Intending initially to make his living as a commercial graphic artist, Frieseke decided to study painting instead, sailing for France in 1897 with the financial backing of his father, a brickmaker. Upon arrival, he enrolled at the Académie Julian and that first summer abroad made a sketching trip to Holland. By 1901 he was living in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris and had begun to exhibit watercolors of his Paris surroundings. During this period watercolor was his chosen medium and landscape his preferred subject. Frieseke also attended James McNeill Whistler’s newly established Académie Carmen in Montparnasse, where Whistler suggested that he begin paintings in oils. He became a member of the American Art Association in Paris, where he came to the attention of department store heir Rodman Wanamaker, who, together with his father became an important life-long client of the artist. Frieseke returned briefly to the United States in 1902 where he attended to family matters and spent time painting in Michigan. The artist began his frequent visits to Giverny in 1905, by which time he had begun painting murals and large figure compositions out-of-doors. Frieseke’s wife, Sadie was a frequent subject of his paintings, his favorite composition being a single voluptuous female figure, often nude, bathed in color and light. Apart from further visits to the U.S. in 1911 and 1928, Frieseke lived most of his life in France. He spent several months of the war in 1915 as a volunteer with the American Red Cross outside of Paris. In 1919 Frieseke and his family began summering in Normandy. From this point on, the artist’s preferred subjects were landscapes of Normandy and clothed portraits, usually of his daughter, Frances. The Frieseke family spent from 1930 to 1932 in Switzerland for the health of their daughter. Frieske died suddenly in 1939 of an aneurysm at his home in Normandy. Frieseke was awarded full membership in the Society National des Beaux-Arts, and was also made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France. His work was awarded a silver medal at the Saint Louis International Exhibition of 1904; a gold medal at the 1904 Munich Exhibition; a gold medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1913; the Grand Prize at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915; two gold medals at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1920; a gold medal at the Philadelphia Art Club, 1922; bronze and silver medals at the Corcoran Gallery in 1928 and 1935, among many other medals and prizes. Frieseke’s work is held in major collections around the world.