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    Frederick Carl Frieseke (American, 1874-1939)
    The White Gown, 1923
    Oil on canvas
    25-1/2 x 32 inches (64.8 x 81.3 cm)
    Signed lower left: F.C.Frieseke

    Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1923;
    Rena Munger Aldredge, Dallas, acquired from the above, 1926;
    By descent to the present owner.


    Frederick Carl Frieseke's The White Dress is an exquisite example of the intimism practiced by the American artists in Giverny. This genre, developed by the Nabis, featured artfully posed female models in decorative interiors illuminated by natural light. With its subtle light and beautiful tonal harmonies, The White Dress demonstrates Frieseke at the height of his abilities.

    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 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. Like Monet, Frieseke found inspiration in the local landscape and the sunshine.

    In the present work, Frieseke's model appears to engage the viewer directly, looking straight ahead, in an almost defiant manner. Although the sitter is engaged, the mood is contemplative and serene. Her hands rest in her lap, enveloped in the lush folds of her decadent white dress. The curves of her body echo the chair and fireplace mantle behind her, juxtaposing the vertical and horizontal moldings on the wall of the room. The curves of the central figure and her chair unite the composition, instilling depth, balance and harmony to the scene. The structure of the composition is similar to those of Édouard Vuillard. Both Vuillard and Frieseke often presented their figures in corners of rooms, viewing them diagonally and from a slightly elevated vantage point. While deeply influenced by the French Impressionists and the Nabis, Frieseke's compositions also possess techniques revolutionized by the Post-Impressionists. As William H. Gerdts writes, "Frieseke's use of flat, interlocking patterns to achieve two-dimensional effects allies his art to French Post-Impressionism" (Monet's Giverny: An Impressionist Colony, New York, 1993, p. 174).

    Frieseke was at the height of his career during the 1910s and early 1920s, when he painted The White Dress and was perhaps the most popular of all living American artists. 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.

    This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Frieseke's work being compiled by Nicholas Kilmer, the artist's grandson, and sponsored by Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York.

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; canvas is slightly slack; under UV light, there appears to be inpaint. Framed Dimensions 32.5 X 39 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
    8th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,332

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