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Founding Collection

The Founding Collection reflects the distinctive vision of museum founders Charles and Emma Frye and celebrates late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century European and American art. The children of German immigrants, the Fryes became prominent business leaders and patrons of the arts after settling in Seattle in 1888. Their collection of 232 oil paintings, almost half of which features German artists, was formed during the years around 1900. Charles and Emma Frye developed their passion for art at the Columbian Exposition, a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893. The experience had a great influence on the painterly subjects and artists the couple would collect in years to come. Over the next four decades, the Fryes acquired paintings while traveling abroad in Europe and from auctions, most notably those of American collections formed by Hugo Reisinger and Josef Stránský. The Fryes famously hung their paintings floor to ceiling, salon style, in a specially built gallery space attached to their home on First Hill. Beyond Germany, the Fryes collected works by artists from Austria, Denmark, England, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and the United States. Highlights include works by two generations of artists from Munich—those of the Münchener Künstlergenossenschaft (Munich Artist’s Association) such as Franz von Defregger, Franz von Lenbach, Wilhelm Leibl, and Friedrich August von Kaulbach—and artists who formed the Munich Secession including Ludwig Dill, Hugo von Habermann, Otto Hierl-Deronco, Franz von Stuck, Wilhelm Trübner, Fritz von Uhde, and Heinrich von Zügel. Other notable works include paintings by Eugène Boudin, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Lillian Genth, Gabriel von Max, and Mihály de Munkácsy. The Founding Collection continues to serve as a catalyst for artistic inquiry at the Frye Art Museum in exhibitions that reframe its works and history through a lens of contemporary scholarship.

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Title Artist Medium Date
Landscape with Trees   Baer, Fritz   Oil on linen  ca. 1905 
Sommertag, Weiden am Bach (Summer Day, Willows on Brook)   Baer, Fritz   Oil on linen  ca. 1905 
Pointers in the Woods, Autumn   Califano, John   Oil on canvas  ca. 1905 
Bei Brügge (At Bruges)   Canal, Gilbert von   Oil on canvas  ca. 1905 
Norwegian Girl   Dahl, Hans   Oil on canvas  ca. 1905 
The Blonde Bavarian   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on panel  ca. 1905 
Spring, Gottenheim   Heffner, Karl   Oil on linen mounted on cardboard  ca. 1905 
Geraldine Farrar   Kaulbach, Friedrich August von   Oil on paperboard  ca. 1905 
At the Stream   Strützel, Otto   Oil on canvas  ca. 1905 
Child with a Brown Hat   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Pigment and varnish on pressboard  ca. 1905 
Child with a Brown Tam O'Shanter   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Dry pigment and varnish on paperboard  ca. 1905 

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