Frederick Carl Frieseke
In 1926 Frieseke donated his “Lady With the Sunshade” painting to the City of Owosso in memory of his Grandmother and is on temporary long-term loan to Shiawassee Arts Center.
This original pastel drawing is part of the Shiawassee Arts Council’s permanent collection.
The original “Along the Shiawassee River” painting was donated to the Shiawassee Arts Council by the family of Dean C. and Alice Harriott Woodard from the estate of Fred B. & Martha Pier Woodard on August 10, 2001.
Frederick Carl Frieseke (Free-sa-ka) was born in Owosso, Michigan April 7, 1874. His childhood home at 654 North Water Street was built with bricks from his father’s brick company. After graduating from Owosso high School in 1893 he studied painting at the Chicago Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York. In 1898 he headed for Paris with $500 that his father had reluctantly given him. From then on, although he returned to the United States occasionally, he remained in France until his death.
Frieseke’s style of painting is known as Impressionism, characterized by the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light. In Paris, Frieseke studied at the Academie Julien. One of his instructors was Whistler, who encouraged the young artist to try painting with oils. In 1906 Frieseke began spending his summers in Giverny, France, next door to Claude Monet. Light and sunshine were Frieseke’s principal concern. His garden, providing the brilliant color, was the setting for many of his finest works. Frieseke’s subjects were primarily women and his wife, Sadie and daughter, Frances were frequent models.
During his lifetime, Frieseke was a prolific artist of renown who won many awards. However, since his death, his fame has grown enormously and his work has become increasingly well-known and admired. There is not a major museum in the world that does not have at least one Frieseke painting. He is one of only forty-five American artists whose work has sold at auction for over one million dollars. In May, 2008 one of his paintings sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York for $2.38 million dollars.
In September, 1995 the SAC acquired the original colored pencil drawing Frieseke did in Holland in 1898, entitled “The Sheepfold.” The work had been given to a fellow Owosso High School classmate upon her marriage in 1899 and it remained in her family for over 90 years before the SAC purchased it for its permanent collection. The work reflects Frieseke’s early style before he began working in oil and became interested in Impressionism.
In 1926, Frieseke gave the lovely painting, “Lady with the Sunshade,”c. 1910, to the City of Owosso in memory of his grandmother, who helped raise him after his mother died when he was seven years old. The painting, of his wife Sadie, is a good example of his mature impressionistic style. The City has allowed SAC to display the painting on a longterm loan basis since May, 2000.
In August, 2001, the descendants of Martha & Fred Woodard, donated an oil on canvas entitled, “Along the Shiawassee”, c. 1925 to SAC. Upon a visit with the Friesekes in Mesnil, France, Martha, had encouraged Frieseke to donate the “Lady with the Sunshade” painting to the City.
In 2001 the Shiawassee Arts Center hosted a multi-million dollar Frieseke exhibit featuring 47 paintings and drawings from all periods of the artist’s life. Many of the paintings were included in a major traveling exhibit which was curated by and shown at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia in addition to Memphis, San Diego and Chicago. The resulting book, “Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist,” was produced by the Telfair and Frieseke’s grandson, Nicholas Kilmer. Nicholas, an artist himself, is doing a catalog raisonne of his grandfather’s work.
Musee d’art Americain, Giverny, France
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
Terra Foundation of the Arts, Chicago
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Akron Art Museum