Frederick Carl Frieseke was born in Owosso, Michigan on April 7, 1874. His family moved to Florida after his mother’s death in around 1881, and he resided there until around 1892.
Frederick Frieseke studied at The Art Institute of Chicago from 1893 to 1896, followed by a year at the Art Students League in New York. In 1898, he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris where worked in the atelier of Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens. He also received criticism from Auguste-Joseph Delecluse, and studied very briefly in James McNeill Whistler’s Académie Carmen, whose influence on Frieseke’s developing style was strong. He absorbed appreciation for the “infinite gradation” of color through paint. Also influential were the flattened space and flowing line of the Art Nouveau style. At the Académie Carmen around 1898, Frieseke studied briefly under American expatriate painter James A.M. Whistler. Inspired by Whistler’s tonalist palette and decorative approach towards the figure, Frieseke began depicting women in sparsely-furnished interiors. Frederick Carl Frieseke exhibited these works at the annual salons and at the American Art Association of Paris. Frieseke’s first successes came from paintings of the nude that were purchased by the French Government in 1904.
While living in Giverny, Frederick Frieseke worked with American painters Guy Rose, Lawton Parker, Edmund Greacen, and Richard E. Miller. Frieseke began to create luminous paintings depicting interiors and outdoor garden scenes, with a palette primarily consisting of greens, blues and violets, dazzling golds and oranges, and creamy whites, which capture and reflect the brilliant summer sunlight. In 1920 he moved to Normandy, where he produced a large group of canvases representing frontally posed femal figures, most often using his daughter Frances as a model. The palette is darker than that of his Giverny period and shows more interest in qualities of chiaroscuro.
Frieseke’s paintings were exhibited extensively throughout his lifetime, both in the United States and France. He earned a medal from the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, the Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1913, a prize at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, and the William A. Clark Award from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1935.
His paintings are in the permanent collections of the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, the Museo d’Art Moderna de Ca’Pesaro in Venice, Italy, and the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago.
Frederick Frieseke died on August 28, 1939.