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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 Condemned   Munkácsy, Mihály de   Oil on panel  1869-72 
Hochzeitsfahrt (Going to the Wedding)   Wierusz-Kowalski, Alfred von   Oil on linen  n.d. 
Landscape at Barbizon   Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse Virgile   Oil on canvas  1870-75 
Arab Riders   Schreyer, Adolf   Oil on panel  1870s 
Old Man Asleep with Sheep   Zügel, Heinrich von   Oil on canvas  1870s 
Canal Scene with Sailboat   Heffner, Karl   Oil on linen  ca. 1875 
Head of a Girl in Folk Costume   Weber, Marie   Oil on panel  1870s-1880s 
Rocky Landscape with Birches   de Bock, Théophile   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Autumn Morning with Sheep   Strützel, Otto   Oil on linen  n.d. 
Helmuth, Count von Moltke   Lenbach, Franz von   Oil on canvas  1873 
Red Dappled Oxen in Two Positions, Heckbach   Zügel, Heinrich von   Oil on canvas  1874 
Visitors in the Tyrol   Defregger, Franz von (attributed to)   Oil on canvas  ca. 1875-79 
Shepherd with his Flock   Weber, Paul   Oil on canvas  ca. 1880 
In the Marshes   van Marcke de Lummen, Emile   Oil on canvas  ca. 1880 
Wash Day   Baer, Fritz   Oil on linen  ca. 1880 
Cattle   Barillot, Léon   Oil on linen  ca. 1880 
Herd of Sheep and Cattle at a Well in a Wooded Narrow Pass, Brixlegg   Zügel, Heinrich von   Oil on canvas  ca. 1880 
Landscape with Oxen   Willroider, Ludwig   Oil on canvas  ca. 1880 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man (Head) with Locket   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Old Man   Raschen, Henry   Oil on canvas  n.d. 


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