Frederick Carl Frieseke


Frieseke, Frederick Carl

Owosso, 1874 - Normandía, 1939

Hollyhocks, c. 1912-1913

© Frederick Carl Frieseke, 2015

Signed lower left: ''F. C. Frieseke’'
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Oil on canvas

80,7 x 80,7 cm


Artwork history

  • Marion Longyear, Brookline (MA).

  • Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York.

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1979.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.


Exhibition, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, loaned by Marion Longyear. American Impressionism, New York (NY), Andrew Crispo Gallery, nº 18.

1979 - 1980

America & Europe. A Century of Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia; Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia; Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Wellington, New Zealand, National Art Gallery; Auckland, Auckland City Art Gallery; Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery; Dunedin, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, nº 30, pp. 51, 143.

1982 - 1983

American Impressionists (Exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Services), Paris, Petit Palais; Berlin, Staatliche Museen; Krakow, National Gallery; Bucharest, Art Museum; Sofia, National Gallery of Art, nº 22.


Maestri Americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Vatican City, Musei Vaticani, nº 60. Bornemisza, Ciudad del Vaticano, Musei Vaticani, n. 60


Maestri Americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, Villa Malpensata, nº 58.

1984 - 1986

American Masters: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Baltimore (MD), The Baltimore Museum of Art; Detroit (MI), The Detroit Institute of Arts; Denver (CO), Denver Art Museum; San Antonio (TX), Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute; New York (NY), IBM Gallery of Arts and Sciences; San Diego (CA), San Diego Museum of Art; Palm Beach (FL), The Society of the Four Arts, nº 60, p. 86.


Impressionismo americano. Capolavori da collezioni pubbliche e private degli Stati Uniti d'America, Lugano, Villa Favorita, nº 61, p. 144.


Two Hundred Years of American Paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Kobe, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art; Nagoya, Nagoya City Art Museum; Tokyo, Bunkamura Museum of Art; Hiroshima, City Museum of Contemporary Art, nº 31, p. 107.


De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, nº 66, p. 178.

1996 - 1997

From Zurbaran to Picasso. Masterpieces from the Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum; Beijing, China National Art Gallery, p. 108.


Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell'apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, nº 87, p. 228.


Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, nº 26, p. 116.

1997 - 1998

The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, New York, The Frick Collection; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, nº 21, p. 66 (only in Hartford).

1998 - 1999

Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Takaoka, Takaoka Art Museum; Nagoya, Matsuzaka Art Museum; Sendai, Miyagi Museum of Art, nº 62, p. 142.

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 66.


De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX, p. 204.


Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, p. 54.

2000 - 2001

La Révolte de la couleur. De l'impressionnisme aux Avant-gardes. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Brussels, Musée d'Ixelles, nº 3, p. 28.


La Sombra, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Fundación Caja Madrid. (This work is not listed in the catalogue).

2010 - 2011

Jardines impresionistas, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Fundación Caja Madrid, nº 103, pp. 262, 263 (illus.).

2018 - 2019

Femina Feminae. Muses and the collector. From Piazetta to Delaunay. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra. p. 48-49 & p. 84-85.

  • -Pica, V.: ”Artisti contemporanei: Frederick Carl Frieseke’‘. In Emporium. November 1913, vol. 38 , p. 336, illus.[The work is listed as: ”La Malvarrosa-Rose-Mallow”].

  • -America & Europe, a century of modern masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. [Exhib. Cat. Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia – Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, 1979-80]. Sydney, Australian Gallery Directors Council, 1979, nº 30, pp. 51, 143, illus. [Sheet by Zafran].

  • -Ferber, L. S.: ”The Domestication of Impressionism’‘. In Art News. March, 1982, vol. 81, nº 3, p. 88, illus.

  • -Novak, Barbara: Nineteenth-Century American Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Ellis, Elizabeth Garrity… [et al.]. London, Sotheby´s Publications, 1986 , nº 107, pp. 304-305, illus. [Sheet by Pyne].

  • -Impressionismo americano. Capolavori da collezioni pubbliche e private degli Stati Uniti d’America. [Exhib. cat.]. Gerdts, W. H. (ed.). Lugano, Villa Favorita, 1990, p. 144 [ Sheet by Gerdts].

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 224, illus. p. 225 [ Sheet by Kathleen Pyne].

  • -Alarcó, P. and Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 221, illus.

  • – Femina Feminae. Muses and the collector. From Piazetta to Delaunay. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra. [Exhib. Cat. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra], 2018. P. 48-49  & p.84-85  [Sheet by Kathleen Pyne]


Expert report

During the first two decades of the 20th century Frieseke isolated himself at Le Hameau, a house adjacent to Monet’s at Giverny, and painted images of a garden world. Uninterested in urban life or modern art, he claimed that he rarely looked at a newspaper. Instead Frieseke chose to perpetuate a late 19th-century Impressionist vision long after Monet himself had considerably modified his aims and means.

The theme of the monumental, graceful woman with a parasol appeared often in Monet’s and Renoir’s works of the 1870s and 1880s and in Frieseke’s oeuvrebetween 1909 and 1915. Though he spoke with disdain of convention, Frieseke’s full-bodied female figures and nudes resembled those of Renoir-whom he considered the “head of the Impressionists”-and in his mind were also associated with those of other artist-celebrators of feminine grace, including Botticelli, Titian and Watteau. In this composition the centrally-located figure of the woman, probably modelled on Frieseke’s wife, is articulated in a smooth, unbroken mass. Frieseke framed her curvilinear shape against a vertical and horizontal grid of flowers and pathways and played her solidity off against the decorative background of small, scintillating brushstrokes. Considerations of design were foremost in the artist’s method. Through a symmetrical treatment of the square canvas, he emphasised the flat, decorative quality of the surface and floated the figure upon it. Around her-the solid and centrally placed female figure-revolves the entire composition.

Frieseke frankly admitted that his approach to nature was selective. Following the dictates of “pure Impressionism” established by Monet in the 1870s however, he also tried to record his feeling for nature as spontaneously as possible and attempted to observe the fleeting effects of light and colour in a scientific manner. Relishing Impressionistic experimentation he painted out-of-doors in the presence of the motif and sought to capture new, accidental effects.

In Hollyhocks Frieseke conveyed the heat and light of a summer afternoon through strong contrasts of black, deeply saturated blue and green strokes with pure yellows and high-keyed pinks and mauves. He achieved something of a technical tour de force in the effect of backlighted forms, which heighten the feeling of late afternoon light. In sensitising the viewer to the strange effects of light, Frieseke thus signals his fascination with the transience of nature. With the edges of the woman bathed in a soft glow and the light shining through the translucent fabrics of the Japanese parasol and the delicate tissues of petals, the painter’s manipulation of light most of all serves his enduring fascination with the private mysteries of the feminine world.

Kathleen Pyne