Bringing Munich Home: Selections from the Frye Founding Collection

May 2 – August 31, 2009

Featuring key selections from the Frye Founding Collection, Bringing Munich Home demonstrates the significant role the city of Munich and its artists played in the lives of Seattle collectors Charles and Emma Frye. Like many collectors of their time, the Fryes, Americans of German descent, used art to link their European pasts to their American present. By the time the Fryes developed their passion for art, Munich had long been famous as a “city of art,” attracting artists and art lovers from around the globe to its art museums and international art exhibitions. For a period of almost three decades between 1870 and 1900, Munich was the dominant art center of the German States, briefly rivaling even Paris as the European capital of visual art.

Research reveals that the Fryes made as many as six trips to Munich between the years 1914 and 1925 for extended stays during which the couple looked together at art, met artists, and purchased paintings. Indeed, the core of the Fryes’ collection comprises paintings by two generations of German artists who were involved in distinct exhibiting organizations: the Künstlergenossenshaft and the Munich Secession. Bringing Munich Home will feature artwork by artists involved in both of these associations.

Established in 1868, the Künstlergenossenshaft mounted exhibitions of contemporary German and international art, as well as historical artworks. The organization’s extremely democratic and lenient policies resulted in exhibitions that contained thousands of paintings. In 1892, discouraged by what they perceived as the Künstlergenossenshaft’s forsaking of quality for fairness, a group of artists founded the rival exhibiting group that became known as the Munich Secession. Radically altering exhibition strategies and stressing excellence and diversity in artistic practice, the Secession promoted stylistic experimentation and individualism.

Following the exhibition The Munich Secession and America, in which the Frye’s Founding Collection is exhibited with significant loans from German museums and private collections, Bringing Munich Home continues the Frye Art Museum’s commitment to enhancing appreciation of our Founding Collection and honoring and extending Charles and Emma Frye’s legacies.

Bringing Munich Home is cocurated by Robin Held, chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections; Donna Kovalenko, curator of collections; and Jayme Yahr, curatorial intern.

Image Credits:
Alexander Max Koester. Moulting Ducks, circa 1900. Oil on canvas. 28 3/8 x 51 3/8 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.
Daniel Somogyi. View of Konigssee, 1878. Oil on canvas. 46 5/8 x 59 3/16 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.
Ludwig Willroider. Green Landscape, c. 1890s. Oil on canvas. 23 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.
Albrecht Christoph Wilhelm von Diez. Hunters and Hounds, 1869. Oil on canvas. 21 7/16 x 38 1/2 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.
Franz von Lenbach. Helmuth, Count von Moltke, 1873. Oil on canvas. 46 ¾ x 34 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.

Like many collectors of their time, the Fryes, Americans of German descent, used art to link their European pasts to their American present.