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Indepth Arts News:

"Frederick Carl Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist"
2001-03-20 until 2001-06-03
Telfair Museum of Art
Savannah, GA, USA

A millennium milestone will be celebrated on March 20th when Frederick Carl Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist, the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibition ever to be organized by the Telfair Museum of Art, opens in Savannah. Almost four years in the making, the retrospective contains more than 80 works and will travel to three other venues: the San Diego Museum of Art, the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago, and The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis. Some of the works, deemed too fragile to travel, are exclusive to the Telfair.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a handsome 220-page full-color hardback catalogue published by the Telfair and distributed jointly with Princeton University Press. In addition, a 30-minute documentary with footage filmed in France, plus a charming children’s book illustrated by Savannah’s own Harriet Delong, and numerous special events complement the retrospective.

Recognized during his time as America’s best known painter internationally, Frieseke is considered one of our countrys finest Impressionists. In this retrospective, the full breadth of his genius will be revealed through examination of the three phases of his artistic evolution--from his early period, to his fully developed Impressionist stage, to his later more realistic work.

Friesekes early phase--from his arrival in Paris in 1897 until his move to Giverny in 1905--was influenced by the academic style favored in the Paris salons and the tonal approach of his famous teacher James McNeill Whistler. The Yellow Room (above) bears witness to this influence in its tonal arrangements and Japanese accessories.

The second phase of Friesekes evolution--1905 to 1920--began after he settled in Giverny, where he adopted a looser brushstroke and lighter palette, working in the characteristic Impressionist style for which he is best known. He became a dominant force in the Giverny Group, a circle of expatriate American painters who lived and worked in this picturesque French village and celebrated artists colony during the early 1900s, establishing as its primary theme the female figure in sunlit gardens or intimate boudoirs. The exhibition will focus on many works from Friesekes Giverny years, including Lady in a Garden and The Garden Parasol.

Although Frieseke has often been described as a painter of pretty women, his principal concerns were actually sunlight and its varied effects. In his own words, It is sunshine, flowers in sunshine; girls in sunshine; the nude in sunshine, which I have been principally interested in...If I could only reproduce it exactly as I see it I would be satisfied.

In 1920 Frieseke moved his family to Normandy where he entered the final stage of his painting career. Returning to his early tonalist style, he adopted a more realistic approach while retaining his enduring interest in reflected light on the female form.

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