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Hélène

Accession Number
1942.3

Title
Hélène

Artist(s)
Frederick Carl Frieseke

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1901

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

Dimensions
25 9/16 in x 32 in (64.93 cm x 81.28 cm);33 ½ in x 39 ½ in x 2 ¼ in (85.09 cm x 100.33 cm x 5.72 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. John B. Tillotson

Subject matter
This early work by the American painter Frederick Carl Frieseke was executed in Paris and shows the impact of Whistler's aesthetics and teaching (Frieseke attended the Académie Carmen in Paris). The rich and dark palette and close toal harmonies reflect Whistler's own painting, as does the framing of the figure and cropping of the objects in the room (most notably the framed print which Frieseke may have taken from the portrait of Whistler's mother). Frieseke's description of his approach to picture construction also parallels that of Whistler: both felt that a successful composition was based on harmony and judicious selection, not on slavish recording of what is before the painter. Frieseke's early work in Paris may also have been influenced by American pictorialist photography, which itself drew some of its sensibility from knowledge of Whistler.
Frieseke's early style, as seen in "Helene", changed later in the decade. He moved to Giverny, where he leased Theodore Butler's house next to Claude Monet. Frieseke later work was heavily influenced by the work of Renoir and Monet. He specialized in the depiction of the female nude in both dappled sunlight and in interiors--a subject drawn from study of Renoir--and his palette became much brighter and luminous. In his mature work paint is more heavily applied and in bright touches of color, reflecting his understanding of Monet and possibly the post-Impressionists.

Physical Description
In an interior composed of muted browns, red, and green paint, a woman sits on a couch or bed with her legs crossed, leaning with her chin in her left hand while holding a handkerchief in her right hand. She gazes directly at the viewer.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
modern and contemporary art
picture frame
seated

& Author Notes

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