Written by Angela Gonzalez, Curatorial Intern
A dancer, sitting legs crossed upon a stool, holds a mirror up to her face. Lifting her hand to her lips, she applies lipstick just before going on stage. She is clothed in a soft pink garment that slips down to reveal her pale shoulder. The woman is surrounded by pink, blue and white floral drapery; with the occasional splash of yellow. Her jewelry, hair brushes and make-up rest on the vanity in front of her. This fleeting moment is seized by Frederick Carl Frieseke, the American Impressionist artist.
Born on April 7, 1874 in Owasso, Michigan, Frieseke went on to receive his first artistic training at the Art Institute of Chicago. He later took classes at the Art Student League in New York City before travelling to Paris, France in 1898. Frieseke was enamored with Europe and spent most of his time traversing the Atlantic Ocean. Beginning in 1900, he started to spend his summers in an artist colony located in the French town of Giverny. He was a leading member of “The Giverny Group,” and his signature style based on synthesizing light, creating atmosphere and depictions of the female form became the dominant aesthetic for the area.
In 1912, Frieseke spent his winter on the island of Corsica, just off the Italian coast. He created Before Her Appearance in a house he had rented. The woman posing for the painting is one of his favorite models named Marcelle. It was this winter that Frieseke prepared six works of art for the upcoming Paris Salon exhibition. Included in the Paris Salon was Before Her Appearance, which was very well received. Frieseke would exhibit throughout America and Europe winning medals and collecting honors. The artist passed away August 28, 1939.