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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 Coming Storm, West Norway   Dahl, Hans   Oil on canvas  ca. 1890-1905 
Rocky Landscape with Birches   de Bock, Théophile   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Bavarian Girl   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on paperboard  1911 
The Blonde Bavarian   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on panel  ca. 1905 
Head of a Girl   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on panel  ca. 1890 
Man with a Pipe   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on canvas  ca. 1910 
Im Gasthaus (At the Inn)   Defregger, Franz von   Oil on canvas  1887 
Visitors in the Tyrol   Defregger, Franz von (attributed to)   Oil on canvas  ca. 1875-79 
Landscape at Barbizon   Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse Virgile   Oil on canvas  1870-75 
Hunters and Hounds   Diez, Wilhelm von   Oil on canvas  1869 
Birkenwald (Birch Grove)   Dill, Ludwig   Oil on canvas  ca. 1900 
Rooster and Chickens   Douglas, Walter   Oil on canvas  ca. 1920 
Seascape with Figures   Dubovskoi, Nikolai Nikanorovich   Oil on canvas  1899 
Landscape with a Bridge   Ebert, Carl   Oil on panel  ca. 1860 
August   Ebert, Carl   Oil on panel  ca. 1870 
Motiv aus der Herzegowina (Scene of Herzegovina)   Ebert, Carl   Oil on canvas  1883 
By the Shores of Chiemsee   Ebert, Carl   Oil on canvas  1880 
Die Römer der Verfallzeit (Romans of the Decadence)   Feuerbach, Anselm   Oil on canvas  ca. 1850 
Self-Portrait   Feuerbach, Anselm   Oil on canvas  1853 
Märchenerzählerin (Storyteller)   Firle, Walther   Oil on paperboard  1884-89 
Dressing the Children   Geffcken, Walter   Oil on cardboard  ca. 1913 
Plauderei (Conversation)   Geffcken, Walter   Oil on cardboard  ca. 1913 
Sun Maiden   Genth, Lillian   Oil on canvas  ca. 1909 
View of Reichenau   Geyer, Georg   Oil on canvas  1866 
Landscape with Stream   Gorter, Arnold   Oil on canvas  n.d. 

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