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Pacific Northwest Artists

The Frye Art Museum’s substantial collection of works by artists of the Pacific Northwest reflects the Museum’s transformation from a personal selection of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century—predominantly European—oil paintings to a museum dedicated to creative practice in its myriad forms. Since opening in 1952 to the present day, the Museum has remained steadfast in exhibiting and collecting artworks by contemporary artists, especially those living and practicing in the city of Seattle and surrounding region. Walser Sly Greathouse, executor of the Frye estate and founding director of the Museum, ensured Charles and Emma Frye's vision for a free, public art museum for the people of Seattle was brought to life. Beginning in 1952, Greathouse was the first of six directors who expanded the Museum’s collection, acquiring new works to enliven and contextualize the paintings bequeathed by the Fryes. Subsequent leaders sustained the Museum’s legacy within the evolving identity of the Pacific Northwest through the ongoing collection and exhibition of works by artists of the region—from Washington and Oregon up to Alaska. The Museum’s extensive holdings of Alaskan art were initially assembled by the Museum’s second director, Ida Kay Greathouse. Between 1969 and 1993, she acquired over 125 paintings and works on paper. Subsequent Frye directors Richard V. West, Midge Bowman, and Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker added 175 more works by artists associated with the northernmost state. Highlights of the Pacific Northwest holdings range from twentieth-century Alaskan landscapes by artists such as Sydney Laurence and Eustace Paul Ziegler, to evocative works by contemporary artists and artist collectives across a broad range of mediums, including Juventino Aranda, the Black Constellation, Alison Bremner, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Ellen Lesperance, Jeffry Mitchell, Buster Simpson, and Ko Kirk Yamahira, among others.

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Title Artist Medium Date
Mrs. Greathouse   Abbott, Gerry   Mixed media on board  1975 
Untitled (Badlands)   Aranda, Juventino   Oil on wool Pendleton blanket  2018 
Seine Man   Fellows, Jack   Mixed media on panel  1968 
Beltway Apocalypse   Horsey, David   Graphite, brush, pen, and ink on illustration board  1998 
Balloon Lady   King, Beverly   Acrylic and paper collage on fiber board  1972 
Snowflake Drawing #5 (Double Lotus Pod)   Mitchell, Jeffry   Graphite, ink, carbon transfer, and watercolor on paper  2018 
Universal Love and Compassion   Osaka, Michi   Mixed media on paper  n.d. 
The Pink Belt   Preus, Priscilla   Mixed media on paper  ca. 1970 
Seated Man   Tobey, Mark   Mixed media on paper  1940 
Untitled   Yamahira, Ko Kirk   Acrylic and graphite on partially unwoven canvas with wood  2019 
Five Capital Punishments in China: Drawing and Quartering   Zhi Lin   Acrylic and silkscreen over charcoal underdrawing on canvas with cotton curtain and ribbons  2007 
Vaccination at Bethel, Alaska on the Lower Kuskoquim (1935)   Ziegler, Eustace Paul   Pencil, oil and colored washes on Masonite  1935 


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