Frederick Carl Frieseke

Frederick Carl Frieseke was an American Impressionist painter who favored scenes of women and girls bathed in sunlight. In Owosso, Michigan on April 7, 1874, Frieseke was born the son of a brick manufacturer. Upon graduation in 1893, he attended the Chicago Art Institute for a year before moving to New York to study at the Art Students’ League. He moved to Paris in 1898 to attend the Académie Julian where he was influenced by James A. M. Whistler (1834-1903). During this stay in Paris, he began to receive commission to paint murals for Rodman Wanamaker, a department store magnate, throughout New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey which gave him the financial freedom he needed.

In 1905, Frieseke married Sarah Ann O’Bryan and rented a house for the summer in Giverny, France, next door to Claude Monet. He continued to return to the area for the next thirteen summers, with many of the paintings backdrops taking place in his garden or house. After the First World War, Frederick Frieseke purchased a house in Normandy, preferring the freedom of France over the American conservative nature. Though he still considered himself an American, he claimed he could, “…paint a nude in my garden or down by the fish pond and not be run out of town" while in France. His portraits were mainly of women seated in sunlight, though occasionally he painted landscapes, still lifes and nudes. In his collection, these nudes were considered some of his best work. As he aged and his paintings fell out of favor due to changing tastes in society, his palette darkened and became more contemplative and static. Prior to his death in the late summer of 1939, Frederick Frieseke won many awards and medals, but none better than when he won the grand prize at the Panama-Pacific Expositions in San Francisco in 1915.