Catalog Essay | September 17, 2020 | Lot 115
Frederick Carl Frieseke was among the group of American Impressionist artists who settled in the French village of Giverny, forty miles northwest of Paris, shortly after 1900. This group, which is sometimes referred to as the Giverny Luminists, was attracted to the village by the presence of the great French Impressionist, Claude Monet, who had settled there in 1883.
Frieseke is believed to have visited Giverny as early as 1900; in 1906 he and his wife moved into a two-story cottage that adjoined the property of Claude Monet. At Giverny his colleagues included the American painters Guy Rose, Lawton Parker, Edmund Greacen, and Richard E. Miller, with whose work Frieseke’s is often compared. While he maintained an apartment and studio in Paris all his life, Giverny was Frieseke’s summer residence for fourteen years.
In 1920, Frieseke bought a summer home at Le Mesnil-sur-Blangy in Normandy and left the Giverny art colony. He commenced production of a large group of canvases representing frontally posed female figures, most often using his daughter Frances as model. The palette in these paintings is darker than that of his Giverny period and shows more interest in qualities of chiaroscuro as he explored less brilliant light effects. Works painted after 1920 evidence a great deal of control on Frieseke’s part, which, combined with the deeper palette, contribute to a sense of psychological awareness and intensity.
The painting offered here depicts a stylish Paris interior with French antiques and oriental rugs. The woman is in a stylish Kimono, reflecting the Japonisme trend popular in France at the turn of the century. Standing in the doorway and looking back into the room with her hand on her hip, she represents a modern woman, unconfined by a rigid corset and standing in a casual posture. This work was painted on a Parisian canvas indicating it was likely done while the artist was in his Paris apartment before he moved to Giverny in 1906.