Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
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Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism
FREDERICK CARL FRIESEKE (1874-1939)

The Parrots

Details
FREDERICK CARL FRIESEKE (1874-1939)
The Parrots
signed 'F.C. Frieseke-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
63 ½ x 51 in. (161.3 x 129.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1910
Provenance
Estate of the artist.
Private collection (by descent from the above).
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York (after 1975).
Coe Kerr Gallery, Inc., New York (acquired from the above, 1977).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 1977.
Literature
Photographic Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago, Twenty-Third Annual Exhibition, #5310 FF1 (illustrated).
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' Dorothy and Kenneth Woodcock Archives, PC0104_1911_136 (illustrated).
"Art at Home/Excellent Examples of the 'Movement of Life' at the Pennsylvania Academy..." in The New York Times, 5 February 1911.
Collier's, 18 February 1911, vol. XLVI, no. 22, p. 13, no. 1 (illustrated).
P.L. Occhini, "Karl Frederic Frieseke" inVita d'Arte, February 1911, vol. VII, p. 62, no. 38 (illustrated, pl. LXXXIII).
E.A. Taylor, "The American Colony of Artists in Paris" in International Studio, June 1911, vol. XLIII (illustrated, pl. LXXXIII).
T.W. Wilson, "Carnegie Institute Exhibition" in Fine Arts Journal, September 1911, vol. XVV, pp. 145 and 148 (illustrated; titled The Perroquets).
Century, December 1911, vol. LXXXIII, p. 301 (illustrated).
R.G. McIntyre, "Exhibition of the National Academy of Design" in Fine Arts Journal, February 1912, p. 88.
V. Pica, "Artisti Contemporanei: Frederick Carl Frieseke" in Emporium, November 1913, vol. XXXVIII, p. 322, no. 227 (illustrated; titled I Due Pappagalli).
E.A. Taylor, "The Paintings of F.C. Frieseke" in International Studio, October 1914, vol. LIII, pp. 261 and 264 (illustrated; titled Les Perroquets).
L. Taft, "Frederick Carl Frieseke" in The Index ofTwentieth Century Artists, March 1937, vol. IV, p. 407 (titled Perakeets).
Exhibited
Paris, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1910, no. 498 (titled Les Perroquets).
The Art Institute of Chicago, 23rd Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture by American Artists, October-November 1910, no. 85.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 106th Annual Exhibition, February-March 1911, p. 33, no. 305 (illustrated).
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition, April-June 1911, no. 92 (illustrated; titled The Perroquets).
New York, National Academy of Design, Winter Exhibition, December 1911-January 1912, p. 38, no. 335.
Savannah, Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences; New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries; Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art; St. Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts and Columbia Museum of Art, Frederick Frieseke 1874-1939, November 1974-June 1975, p. 20, no. 16 (titled Two Ladies with Bird Cage).
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., The American Experience, 1976, no. 64 (illustrated).
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. Where Christie's has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie's therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. The third party will be remunerated in exchange for accepting this risk based on a fixed fee if the third party is the successful bidder or on the final hammer price in the event that the third party is not the successful bidder. The third party may also bid for the lot above the written bid. Where it does so, and is the successful bidder, the fixed fee for taking on the guarantee risk may be netted against the final purchase price.

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Post lot text
This painting will be included in the Frederick C. Frieseke catalogue raisonné being compiled by Nicholas Kilmer, the artist’s grandson, with the support of the Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York.

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Lot Essay

Painted at the height of the artist’s career, The Parrots is an archetypal example of Frederick Carl Frieseke’s large-scale paintings of women at leisure within their private homes. Depicting the artist’s wife Sarah Frieseke on the couch and niece Aileen O’Bryan in the foreground, The Parrots brilliantly conveys the intimism practiced by the American artist in Giverny. The work belongs to a group of Frieseke’s multi-figured, intricate large-scale exhibition paintings from the early 1910s, which included both interior scenes like the present work as well as outdoor scenes, such as The Garden Parasol (1910, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh). Shortly after its completion, The Parrots was exhibited prominently during the artist’s lifetime—a testament to Frieseke’s assessment of its importance. Notable venues included the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1910); The Art Institute of Chicago (1910); National Academy of Design, New York (1911-1912); Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, Philadelphia (1911) and the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (1911). Composed with casual postures yet sumptuous fabrics and intricate designs, The Parrots is arguably one of the artist’s most accomplished interior scenes in scale, detail and color.
Frieseke was one of the leading figures among the second generation of American expatriates in France. He first studied at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York before leaving for Paris in 1898 to continue his studies. There Frieseke enrolled at the Académie Julian and also at the Académie Carmen, James McNeill Whistler’s short-lived school. Whistler's passion for Japanese art, for decoration, and for distinctive color arrangements had a lasting influence on Frieseke's work. By 1900 Frieseke was spending summers in Giverny and, after achieving artistic and financial success, was able to purchase a home there in 1906. He chose American Impressionist Theodore Robinson’s former house next door to Claude Monet’s. Frieseke remained in Giverny for almost two decades, where the artist colony also included Americans Theodore Butler, Willard Metcalf, Richard Miller and Guy Rose.
The present work is particularly notable for its inclusion at lower right of a pair of dazzling blue and green parrots within a bright gold cage. With this artistic device, Frieseke continues the storied tradition of the parrot within art history. Parrots have appeared as symbolic figures within paintings since the Middle Ages and have been featured in the work of artists such as Albrecht Durer, Jan Steen and Francisco de Goya. Imported to Europe in the sixteenth century as part of the Age of Exploration, parrots were brought from India, Africa and South Africa for menageries, study and use as household pets. By the eighteenth century, parrots were popular in the court of Versailles, which furthered a cultural interest and demand for foreign pets that could be easily transported. The bird continued to be of interest for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist French artists, appearing in works such as Edouard Manet’s La Femme au perroquet (1866, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La femme à la perruche (circa 1870, Guggenheim Bilbao). Frieseke himself employed parrots in at least one other instance with The Bird Cage (1910, New Britain Museum of American Art).
In the present composition, Sarah Frieseke, relaxed yet observant, admires the wondrous bird as Aileen gently caresses the cage. In contrast to the opalescent, smooth rendering of the women’s skin, their dresses and the surrounding room are painted in vivid colors in a tapestry of short, dense Impressionist strokes. The diverse palette of greens, blues, pinks, purples and yellows are characteristic colors of many Giverny paintings, which Frieseke used to great effect to provide contrast for the two women. Indeed, the intricately patterned sofa and shawl make for a wondrous fusion of patterns and texture, which has striking parallels to the work of the Nabis, including Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, who often featured artfully posed female models in decorative interiors illuminated by natural light. Frieseke’s arrangement and details in The Parrots recalls Vuillard works, such as L'Album (1895, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Femme en robe rayée (1895, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Marcelle Aron (Madame Tristan Bernard) (1914, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston).
Frieseke's images of women are celebrated as some of the finest achievements of American Impressionism. His ability to manipulate light and imbue his models with an air of psychological independence makes him one of the most accomplished American Impressionist painters of the female figure. With its subtle light, rich textures and beautiful tonal harmonies, The Parrots demonstrates Frieseke at the height of his abilities.
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