Frye Art Museum is pleased to present Frye Salon, featuring more than one hundred forty paintings from the Frye’s Founding Collection. The exhibition recreates the sumptuous viewing experience enjoyed by visitors to the art gallery in Charles and Emma Frye's Seattle home in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Charles and Emma Frye attended the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and spent a week in the galleries of the Palace of Fine Arts, savoring exquisite paintings from the cultural capitals of the world that had been selected by advisory committees and juries made up of leading European and American artists and critics. The Fryes subsequently began collecting art and eventually exhibited their collection in a private art gallery adjoining their residence at 722 Ninth Avenue on Seattle’s First Hill, only blocks away from where the Frye Art Museum is located today.
“This style of exhibition has become a great favorite with our visitors,” said Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, director of the Frye Art Museum and curator of Frye Salon. “Since we first presented a version of Frye Salon in 2010, we’ve had many requests to bring it back. For the next three months, we’re delighted to once again dedicate the largest gallery in the museum to beloved paintings from our Founding Collection in tribute to Charles and Emma Frye, visionary civic leaders and philanthropists who first dreamed of a free art museum for the people of Seattle.”
Hung floor to ceiling, the paintings in Frye Salon capture the atmosphere of the Fryes' salon-style exhibitions, which showcased the artists of the renowned Munich Secession and the “stars” of the preceding Artists' Association, the Munich Künstlergenossenschaft.
Frye Salon combines paintings from both generations of artists. Works by Künstlergenossenschaft masters such as Franz von Lenbach, who enjoyed fame and recognition in nineteenth-century America, hang alongside paintings by prominent Secessionists, including Franz von Stuck and Gabriel von Max. In January 1909, the New York Times noted the close ties between Secessionist and Künstlergenossenschaft artists when a “magnificent” exhibition of German art opened in a new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “It is easy to see how the truly great masters among the old had many of the virtues of the young, and how finely the best art of the different generations holds together when brought into close juxtaposition.”
There were also important distinctions between the artists of the Secession and the Künstlergenossenschaft, including different styles of presenting artworks. The Secession's 1893 inaugural exhibition took place in specially designed galleries with light-colored walls stripped of ornate decoration. Paintings were hung sparely and installed in single rows. In contrast, Künstlergenossenschaft exhibitions displayed an overwhelming number of artworks; a single exhibition could contain up to two thousand paintings, which the artists installed salon-style.
Frye Salon recalls the abundance and visual splendor of the Künstlergenossenschaft's salon-style exhibitions and those in the Fryes' home almost a century ago.
Frye Salon is being shown at Frye Art Museum along with Andy Warhol: Little Red Book #178, Andy Warhol: 12 Screen Tests, American Portraits 1880-1915, and Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament, comprising a summer of exhibition programming exploring the theme of the likeness by which one provides an account of another person, or of oneself.
Frye Salon is organized by the Frye Art Museum. The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. Seasonal support is provided by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and ArtsFund. Media sponsorship is provided by The Stranger.