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Exhibition Pairs Works Collected by Two of Seattle's Major Museum Founders
Hermann Corrodi. Venice, c. 1900. Oil on canvas. 49 1/4 x 91 1/4 in. Charles and Emma Frye Collection.

SEATTLE, WA.-Dreaming the Emerald City unites two of Seattle’s foundational art collections for the first time, demonstrating how Charles and Emma Frye and Horace C. Henry—founders of the Frye Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, respectively—enhanced the city’s cultural fabric through the acquisition, display and donation of world-class paintings in the early twentieth century. On view through April 6, 2008, the exhibition is curated by Robin Held, the Frye’s chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections.

While Henry focused on American and French paintings and the Fryes primarily collected German and Austrian art, the collections have some artists in common, including William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905), Louis-Gabriel-Eugène Isabey (1803–86), Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824–98) and Childe Hassam (1859–1935). The Fryes bought paintings directly from artist studios and private collectors, including Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Josef Stránský (conductor of the New York Philharmonic), as well as from Paris art dealers Tedesco Frères and the American Art Association’s estate sales. Henry bought artwork from the Paris Salon (1911), the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) and other sources including New York’s Holland and Macbeth Galleries.

Both Henry and the Fryes created public galleries in their homes, and eventually gifted their collections to establish museums. Henry donated some 172 works and $100,000 to found and build the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, which in 1927 became the state’s first public art museum. Charles Frye, in his will, directed the executor of his estate to establish a venue for his collection, the Charles and Emma Frye Free Public Art Museum, which opened in 1952 as the city’s first free art museum.

Dreaming the Emerald City—the first exhibition to display the Frye Art Museum Founding Collection along with loaned artwork—showcases significant paintings from both museums’ holdings: for example, George Inness’ Goochland, West Virginia (1884) and Julian Alden Weir’s Farmhouse (c. 1888–90) from the Henry and Hermann Corrodi’s Venice (c. 1900) and Dániel Somogyi’s View of Königssee (1878) from the Frye.

Also on view will be archival photographs and exhibition catalogues documenting the exhibition programs and building projects undertaken by the Frye and the Henry since their founding.

Exhibited together, the Henry’s and the Frye’s collections reveal important genres and themes from European and American art history, including Barbizon School landscapes and Orientalist and Romantic subjects.

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