Frederick Carl Frieseke was born in Owosso, Michigan, in 1874. Following the death of his mother, his family moved to Florida, remaining there until the early 1890s. After studying briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York, he traveled to France and continued his training at the Académie Julian under Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens. He also briefly attended James McNeill Whistler’s Académie Carmen. Inspired by Whistler’s subject matter, as well as by his Tonalist palette, Frieseke began depicting women in interiors. The decorative harmony between figure and setting in this painting — in shades of white, pink, and gray — illustrates Whistler’s enduring influence.
In 1898, Frieseke made his first visit to Giverny, the site of Claude Monet’s famous studio. In 1906, he rented a property near Monet’s and came completely under Impressionist influence, specializing in colorful, light-filled depictions of the female figure in intimate indoor settings and in the garden. After exhibiting with fellow American Impressionists Richard Miller, Lawton Parker, and Guy Rose in 1910, New York critics dubbed Frieseke and his peers the Giverny Group.
Giverny became Frieseke’s primary residence, but he kept a studio in Paris. In 1911, he visited Southern California, where his father had moved, and painted figures in gardens.(1) He returned to France and ultimately settled in Le Mesnil-sur-Blangy.
1. Antony Anderson, “Art and Artists,” Los Angeles Times, 31 December 1911.