Monday, August 1, 2016

In the Beginning: Frederick Frieseke

Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874–1939) was an American expatriate who spent most of the last 40 years of his life in France. A fairly lengthy Wikipedia biography is here. It mentions that he regarded himself as more self-taught than formally trained. This was despite that he had studied at Chicago's Art Institute, New York's Art Students League, and the Académie Julian in Paris as well as the Académie Carmen under Whistler. Even though he summered in Giverny, Monet's haunt, Frieseke did not consider himself influenced by him. Rather, he claimed Renoir was more of an influence.

Considered an Impressionist, Frieseke was of the American variety, stressing drawing and depicting form as well as the play of colors.

Even so, it took Frieseke a while to establish his best-known style, The images below do not include his very earliest works, but show what he was producing during his first five years or so in France.


The Garden in June - 1911
As usual, I include an establishing image, this showing the kind of painting Frieseke is best known for.

Luxembourg Gardens - 1901
Here he shows interest in the effects of light and shade, but he does this without the use of broken colors.

Landscape, Le Pouldu, Brittany - 1901
This painting seems to have been done with thinned paints that were then wiped.  The famous American illustrator Bernie Fuchs also did something like this at times.

Medora Clark at the Clark Apartment, Paris - 1903
Another fairly thinly painted work, but less sign of wiping.

Nasturiums (Girl with Book) - 1904
The flesh areas are painted conventionally here, but much of the rest is made of heavier or more distinct brushwork.

The Green Sash - 1904
To me, this seems Whistler-like with a strong hint of Japanese-influenced flatness in the setting.

Ballerina - 1904
Another fairly conventional work, but again the setting is flattened.

Lady with Parasol - 1905
The lower half seems Van Gogh- like, the upper part more like Gauguin.

Lady with Parasol - 1908
Even though Frieseke was approaching his signature style, this painting includes thin, wiped areas as well as more solidly depicted parts.  No divisionism or broken colors.  This would have been a really nice painting except for the botched boat (if that's what it is).

1 comment:

Hels said...

It was inevitable that when a young artist left home and travelled 10,000 ks away to live in France, he really really wanted to absorb French taste and skills. Frieseke's Nasturiums (Girl with Book) from 1904 was indeed very much influenced by Renoir. And yes you can see a lot of Van Gogh and Gauguin in Lady with Parasol from 1905.

Académie Julian and Académie Carmen must have seemed like heaven on earth for young, foreign students. And not just for the art lessons.