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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 Gypsy Camp   Knaus, Ludwig   Oil on linen  1857 
The Musical Cavalier   Uhde, Fritz von   Oil on panel  1877 
The Race   Wierusz-Kowalski, Alfred von   Oil on canvas  ca. 1900-1915 
The Secret   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Dry pigment and varnish on paperboard  n.d. 
The Storm   Isabey, Louis Gabriel Eugène   Oil on linen mounted on Masonite  1850 
The Time of the Cuckoo   Steppes, Edmund   Oil on linen  1907 
The Tramps   Zumbusch, Ludwig von   Pigment and varnish on paperboard  n.d. 
The Willows   van Veen, Pieter   Oil on canvas  1918 
Three Cows and a Calf   Barillot, Léon   Oil on linen  ca. 1890 
Three Putti   Hengeler, Adolf   Oil on canvas  n.d. 
Three Young Cows with their Drover in the High Meadow Grass, Worth   Zügel, Heinrich von   Oil on canvas  1912 
Trees, Stream & Cattle   Gorter, Arnold   Oil on canvas  ca. 1910 
Trüber Wintertag (Cloudy Winter Day)   Petuel, Rudolph   Oil on canvas  1913 
Two Cattle in a Stream   Zügel, Heinrich von   Oil on canvas  1906 
Two Gordon Setters in a Field   Rosseau, Percival   Oil on canvas  1904 
Untitled   Max, Gabriel von   Oil on panel  ca. 1900-1915 
Untitled   Max, Gabriel von   Oil on canvas  ca. 1900-1915 
Untitled [Meersburg, Lake Constance]   Wenk, Albert   Oil on canvas  ca. 1920-1934 
Urteil des Paris (The Judgment of Paris)   Stuck, Franz von   Oil on panel  1923 
Venice   Corrodi, Hermann   Oil on canvas  ca. 1900 
View of Corsica   Corrodi, Hermann   Oil on canvas  ca. 1890 
View of Königssee   Somogyi, Dániel   Oil on canvas  1878 
View of Reichenau   Geyer, Georg   Oil on canvas  1866 
View of the Harbor, Le Havre   Boudin, Eugène   Oil on panel  ca. 1885-90 
Village in the Snow   Jardines, Jose Maria   Oil on canvas  ca. 1915 

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