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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
The Blue Dress   Hengeler, Adolf   Oil on panel  1912 
Courtyard   Liebermann, Max   Oil on panel  ca. 1882 
Dordrecht, The Cathedral   Boudin, Eugène   Oil on panel  ca. 1885-89 
Fête Galante (A Splendid Party)   Monticelli, Adolphe   Oil on panel  n.d. 
Study for the Death of Mozart   Munkácsy, Mihály de   Oil on panel  1884 
Arab Riders   Schreyer, Adolf   Oil on panel  1870s 
View of the Harbor, Le Havre   Boudin, Eugène   Oil on panel  ca. 1885-90 
Head of a Girl in Folk Costume   Weber, Marie   Oil on panel  1870s-1880s 
Urteil des Paris (The Judgment of Paris)   Stuck, Franz von   Oil on panel  1923 
The Musical Cavalier   Uhde, Fritz von   Oil on panel  1877 
Study for Cattle on the Shore   Voltz, Johann Friedrich   Oil on panel  ca. 1883 
Portrait of Jacob Stern   Knaus, Ludwig   Oil on panel  1877 
The Condemned   Munkácsy, Mihály de   Oil on panel  1869-72 
Marion Lenbach and the Daughter of the Painter Nikolaus Gysis   Lenbach, Franz von   Oil on paper mounted on board  1899 
The Christian Martyr   Max, Gabriel von   Oil on paper mounted on canvas  1867 
Bildnis von Leibls Kameraden Stadelmayr (Portrait of Leibl's Comrade Stadelmayr)   Leibl, Wilhelm   Oil on paper mounted on cardboard  1864 
Summer Night   Thoma, Hans   Oil on paper mounted on fabric  1882 
Here I Am   Schmutzler, Leopold   Oil on paperboard  ca. 1910 
Bavarian Girl   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on paperboard  1911 
Lady Curzon   Lenbach, Franz von   Oil on paperboard  1901 
Geraldine Farrar   Kaulbach, Friedrich August von   Oil on paperboard  ca. 1905 
Märchenerzählerin (Storyteller)   Firle, Walther   Oil on paperboard  1884-89 
Portrait of Hanna Ralph   Kaulbach, Friedrich August von   Oil on paperboard  n.d. 
Boy with a Red Cap   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Pigment and oil on paper  ca. 1903-04 
Boy with a Hat   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Pigment and varnish on paperboard  n.d. 

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