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Frederick Frieseke

Born: 1874, Owosso, Michigan, United States of America
Died: 1939, Mesnil-sur-Blangy, Normandy, France

Breakfast in the Garden
c. 1911

Oil on canvas
Image: 26 x 32 5/16 in. (66 x 82.1 cm)
Frame: 36 x 45 5/16 in. (91.4 x 115.1 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1987.21
Signed: Lower left: F.C. Frieseke-
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

Frederick Frieseke’s Breakfast in the Garden presents the artist’s wife, Sarah (Sadie) O’Bryan Frieseke, seated before a small table laden with the components of a morning meal—silver coffee- and teapots and a plate of fruit—in a garden in Giverny, France. Her face shadowed by a large black hat, Mrs. Frieseke works at her sewing, disregarding both the painter and her breakfast, although the two teacups arranged on the tabletop indicate the unseen presence of a fellow diner—perhaps the artist himself. In the background, across a short stretch of lawn, the view terminates with the wall of the house, varied by green shutters and trellised vines bright with crimson blossoms that echo Mrs. Frieseke’s coral bead necklace. Her absorbed attention and the arbitrary cropping of her body and the legs of the chair and table at the bottom edge of the composition inject a casual immediacy into a composition carefully organized for contrast and balance of shapes and colors.

Accompanied by his wife and frequent model, Frieseke spent every summer between 1906 and 1919 in Giverny, site of a lively, largely American expatriate artists’ colony dominated by the bright colors, open brushwork, and outdoor subjects of impressionism as pioneered by painter Claude Monet (1840–1926). A house next door to Monet’s known as Le Hameau, or “the hamlet,” may have been the Friesekes’ residence at some point during their years in Giverny. Leased to Boston artist and educator Mary C. Wheeler (1846–1920) for the summer art classes she brought to the village, it was certainly the setting for Frieseke’s teaching and for many of his paintings. Sadie Frieseke, an avid gardener, posed there for her husband for such works as Breakfast in the Garden and Lilies (TF 1999.55): the same garden furniture, painted a color that came to be known as “Monet green,” appears in each. Family members in gardens dominated the subjects painted by the Americans who worked in Giverny after the turn of the twentieth century. The setting offered not only an evocation of the tranquil, genteel domestic existence of the successful artist but a vehicle for composing decorative works characterized by varied pleasing color and the interplay of graceful natural forms and rigid architectural structures.

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Provenance

The artist
Macbeth Gallery, New York, New York
Mr. Sheldon Keck, Cooperstown, New York
Private collection, Florida, 1960
Ira Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1987

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Exhibition History

Paintings by Frederick C. Frieseke, Macbeth Gallery, New York, New York, January 17–30, 1912.

Exhibition of Paintings by Frederick C. Frieseke, Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, February 18–March 11, 1912, no. 12.

Paintings By Frederick C. Frieseke, Detroit Museum of Art, Detroit, Michigan, March 18–April 4, 1913.

Exhibition of Paintings by Frederick C. Frieseke, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, April 2 (sic)–22, 1913, no. 12.

Selections from the Permanent Collection: Americans at Home and Abroad, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 6–29, 1987.

Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915 (Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, June 1–November 1, 1992; April 1–October 31, 1993; April 1–October 30, 1994; April 1–October 31, 1995. [exh. cat.]

American Artists and the Paris Experience, 1880–1910, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 22, 1997–March 8, 1998.

Giverny: une impression américaine (Giverny, An American Impression), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–November 1, 1998.

Giverny: intérieurs, extérieurs (Giverny: Inside and Out), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2000.

Frederick Carl Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (organizer). Venues: Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, March 13–June 3, 2001; The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee, June 23–August 18, 2001; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, September 15–November 10, 2001; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 1, 2001–February 3, 2002. [exh.cat.]

D'une colonie à une collection: le Musée d'Art Américain Giverny fête ses dix ans (From a Colony to a Collection: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, March 30–June 16, 2002 (on exhibit extended run: March 30–November 30, 2002).

Giverny en fleurs (Giverny in Bloom), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, March 2–November 30, 2003.

Visages de l'Amérique: de George Washington à Marilyn Monroe (Faces of America: From George Washington to Marilyn Monroe), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2004 (on exhibit partial run: April 1–July 5, 2004). [exh. cat.]

En plein air: personnages dans un paysage (En Plein Air: Figures in a Landscape), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2004 (on exhibit partial run: July 5–October 31, 2004).

Twarze Ameryki: Portrety z kolekcji Terra Foundation for American Art, 1770–1940 (Faces of America: Portraits from the collection of the Terra Foundation for American Art, 1770–1940), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France and Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury (International Cultural Center), Crakow, Poland (organizers). Venue: International Cultural Center, Crakow, Poland, February 15–May 7, 2006. [exh. cat.]

Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885–1915, Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 1, 2007; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, July 21–October 14, 2007. [exh. cat.]

Impressionist Giverny: The Americans, 1885-1915, Selections from the Terra Foundation for American Art, Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Florence Griswold Museum of Art, Old Lyme, Connecticut, May 3–July 27, 2008; Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany, New York, August 23, 2008–January 4, 2009.

Monet and the Artists of Giverny: The Beginning of American Impressionism, The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan with the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizers). Venues: Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Kitakyushu, Japan, October 9–November 28, 2010; The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, December 7, 2010–February 17, 2011; The Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama, Japan, February 25–April 10, 2011. [exh. cat.]

Impressionists in France, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (organizer); Venue: National Gallery of Victoria, June 15–October 7, 2013. [exh. cat.]

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Published References

Gallatin, A. E. The Paintings of Frederick C. Frieseke. Art and Progress (October 1912): 747.

The International Studio 53:212 (October 1914): ill.

Gerdts, William H. et al. Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text p. 192; pl. 38, p. 193 (color).

Gerdts, William H. et al. Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text p. 192; pl. 38, p. 193 (color).

Gomes, Rosalie. Impressions of Giverny: A Painter's Paradise 1883–1914. San Francisco, California: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1995. Text pp. 89, 115; pl. 58, p. 91 (color).

Joyes, Claire. The Taste of Giverny: At Home with Monet and the American Impressionists. Paris, France: Flammarion, 2000. Ill. pp. 74–75 (color).

Kilmer, Nicholas et al. Frederick Carl Frieseke: The Evolution of an American Impressionist. Savannah, Georgia: Telfair Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2001. Ill. p. 152 (color as "Breakfast in the Garden").

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. An American Point of View: The Daniel J. Terra Collection. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text p. 31.

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. Un regard transatlantique. La collection d'art américain de Daniel J. Terra. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text p. 31.

Lévy, Sophie, et al. Twarze Ameryki: Portrety z kolekcji Terra Foundation for American Art, 1770–1940/Faces of America: Portraits from the collection of the Terra Foundation for American Art, 1770–1940. (exh. cat. International Cultural Center). Cracow, Poland: International Cultural Center, 2006. Ill. p. 104 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. et al. Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885–1915. (exh. cat. Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for American Art, 2007. Text. pp. 52, 206 (checklist); fig. 1, p. 152 (color).

Mauvoisin, Jacques and Gwenaëlle Ledot. Écrivins de Normandie. Saint-Lô, France: Normandie Magazine, 2007. Ill. p. 128 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. "Impressionist Giverny: American Painters in France" American Art Review 20.3 (June 2008): 100-113. Ill. p.111 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M., Shunsuke Kijima and Sanjiro Minamikawa. Monet and the Artists of Giverny: The Beginning of American Impressionism. (exh. cat. Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, and The Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art). Fukuoka, Japan: The Nishinippon Shimbun, 2010. Ill. cat. no. 72, p.133 (color), opposite p. 133 (detail) (color).

Taylor, Elena. Australian Impressionists in France. (exh. cat. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). Melbourne, Australia: The National Gallery of Victoria, 2013. Text, p. 134, 167 (checklist); ill. p. 133 (above) (color)

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