Helen Reed, nicknamed "Babes" because she was so much younger than her sibling and cousins, died March 8th at the age of 92. She was very close to her cousin George who completed this portrait of her when she was six years old and included his mother's terrier Jackie. A favorite of both George and Suzy, Helen accompanied Suzy throughout Europe during Suzy's operatic career from 1947-1951. Driving the "Tadpole", a 1947 Peugeot which resembled a tadpole to the artist's eye, Helen would support Suzy through the rigors of performing. Managing touchy Italian singing coaches as well as high strung tenors elbowing Suzy out of the way on stage, were all part of Helen's role as friend and confidant. After graduating from Barnard College, Helen married diplomat John Reed in 1952, raised twin daughters, and dedicated herself to civic activism. Her devoted husband died in August at age 97. See her complete obituary from the Washington Post here.
Kinney Frelinghuysen, artist and director of Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, will present the virtual lecture, "The Life of American Abstract Artists George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen", at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, November 11th via Zoom. The lecture is sponsored by the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. Preregistration is required and the fee is $10, $5 for members of the Mattatuck Museum. The one hour presentation will begin with a hands-on visual and drawing activity followed by an in-depth conversation about Morris' WWII series, including his painting "Munition Factory" which is currently on loan at the Mattatuck from Arts Bridges. Reserve at www.mattmuseum.org/calendar/morris-frelinghuysen/.
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio has been awarded a $9,210 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve part of its collection of 16mm films taken by George L.K. Morris in the 1930s. The Foundation's grants support preservation of rare films such as silent films and films of sites receiving little media coverage. This current grant funds preservation of three films taken by Morris during a 1934 trip to the Far East during which he visited China, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hawaii, India, Korea, and Philippines capturing on film colonial, pre-World War II life and historical and culturally significant sites. These 1934 films make up almost half of those in the FMH&S collection. These three films, documenting Hong Kong, Shanghai, Suzhou, Mount Abu, and Udaipur are the final Far East films to be preserved.
In this 3-minute video Director Kinney Frelinghuysen examines "Printemps", a painting/collage from 1945, with the aid of 3D digital deconstruction. Suzy Frelinghuysen created this painting as a traditional still life, depicting common objects, but in the style of late Cubism. Deconstructing the painting helps to demonstrate the core ideas of Cubism and understand her use of color and contour in the composition. Click here for the experience.
Watch the second installment of virtual tours this Season. Episode Two features guide Thomas in the foyer describing the art, architecture and design in the House. Click here to watch the two minute video.
Join us Tuesday mornings for the FREE Visual & Drawing Class via ZOOM @ 11am-12pm, with Director and artist Kinney Frelinghuysen. Whether you look at art or aspire to make art or both, the contour exercises draw upon the wondrous visual capacity of our brains. Visual activities allow the participant to eliminate premature self-judgement and inspires the appreciation of what gives life to art. Be ready with a pad and pencil or charcoal and please register in advance by click here. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join this class given every Tuesday morning. Please consider making a donation.
Enjoy the first installment of virtual tours this Season. Episode One features Director Kinney Frelinghuysen in the courtyard of the House & Studio. Click here to view the four minute video.
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio in Lenox will not be opening to the public for the 2020 season in response to the public health crisis. Social distancing mandates and requirements by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are not possible to achieve in the small spaces of the mid-century modern House & Studio.
New for this year we will be releasing digital immersive experiences that capture the essence of the House, Studio, and Collection. Director Kinney Frelinghuysen will lead a series of vignettes consisting of an episodic virtual house tour and narrated digital deconstructions of selected paintings to enrich the experience of abstract art. Zoom classes in color theory and contour exercises will be also be scheduled.
A small, 8"x8" fresco relief titled Opposition of Forms sold for $8750, above its estimate, at Sotheby's auction of Property from the Collection of Nelson and Happy Rockefeller. The tempera on marble piece was signed 1945 and was purchased from the Downtown Gallery, run by Edith Halpert. Rockefeller's mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was an early anchor of the Gallery which promoted American art, including Folk art in the l930's. Nelson Rockefeller worked closely with Halpert on large contemporary art shows in the new Rockefeller Center in the Depression. This piece was most likely included in one of her shows of "small works", illustrating her acumen of inventing ways to attract clients.
Wall Painting, was part of Halpert's personal collection, now reassembled for the first time since its sale in 1973. Edith Halpert was the first woman in New York to open a commercial art gallery in l926 called the Downtown Gallery and became the most powerful dealer of contemporary art from the 30's to the mid-50's. This painting,1936-44, was most likely acquired during Morris' first solo exhibit at the Gallery in l944. This facinating exhibit continues through February 9th at the Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, NYC.
Protests & Patronage: Morris, Frelinghuysen, and the Promotion of Abstract Art in the 1930's presented this July by Carol Troyen, Curator Emerita at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her entertaining insight into this year's exhibit is not to be missed. Last day of hourly guided tours is October 13th.Click here to watch.
Berkshire Magazine's "Out and About" feature gives a glimpse of this year's exhibit in the Studio and the history behind it thanks to favorite author Kate Abbott. Check it out!
"In 1937, the American Abstract Artists held their first group show in the Squibb Gallery in New York City. The show would attract 1,500 viewers over the course of its three-week run, but the art critics were not kind", writes Jennifer Huberdeau of the Berkshire Eagle. "But George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen, abstract artists themselves, saw value in the paintings of their peers. Morris, a founding member of the AAA purchased 10 pieces..."Click here to read the whole article.
Please be advised that the 2pm tour on Thursday, August 8th is completely sold out. There are still places available on the other hourly tours, 10am-3pm.
Don't miss oil painter Peter Schoeffer this Friday, August 30th for the last Painting Demonstration this season. Starts @ 11am and free with any admission.
"An abundance of art, food and nature make the Berkshires an idyllic (and interesting) country escape.." writes Natalie Shukur in last month's Australian Vogue magazine. She curates a pictorially lush travelogue of accomodations, restaurants and art venues including the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio. Read the whole article right here!
This matching grant will help pay for the completion of the repair to the four rear patios and has been a catalyst to continue and expand engineering probes. A probe last month uncovered steel beams in a critical area eliminating mysteries for the engineer's calculations. Thank you to the Lenox residents for the approval at the Town Meeting, committee members and Land Use Director/Town Planner Gwen Miller.
Click here to enjoy the slide lecture by University of Virginia Architecture Department Chair Richard Guy Wilson as he describes the origins of the Le Corbusier-inspired Morris Studio, built in 1931 in Lenox, Massachusetts. The 38 minute video of the lecture this past season is full of information detailing the rise of Modern architecture in Europe and America.
Frelinghuysen's painting sold for over three times its high estimate and far surpassed her previous auction record of $85,000. "Composition" measures 40"x30" and was painted in 1943, incorporating corregated cardboard as a collage element. Appearing wholly abstract at first, it actually refers to the image of a bullfighter. Renowned collector and travel entrepreneur Barney A. Ebsworth bought the painting in the 1970's adding to his collection based on the rise of American Art in the 20th century. He exhibited his collection widely across the United States.
Director Kinney Frelinghuysen will present at NEMA's 100th anniversary conference this November 7th. He will present a slide show on the session: The Women Behind Historic Artists' Homes and Studios of New England. Using archival photographs, letters, telegrams and other documents, he will illuminate Suzy's dual careers as painter and opera singer and her work to preserve the House & Studio and Collection.
Keely Orgeman, curator at Yale University Art Gallery will discusss "The Ever-Evolving Abstract Language of George L.K. Morris" this Sunday, November 11th @ 2pm at the American Art Fair. The Fair is celebrating its 11th year and is held at the Bohemian National Hall, 321 E 73 Street, New York, NY. It opens American Art week in New York and displays 17 exhibitors. Admission is complimentary and seating for lectures are on a first come basis.
Closed for the Season. Groups of 12 or more by advance appointment until October 31. Thank you, members and visitors,for making it the best, most inspiring season ever.
Please come back next spring!
Click here to listen to Director/Artist Kinney Frelinghuysen's interview with Joe Donohue last week talking about the story behind the creation of the House & Studio and this Season's exhibit.
"When Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio opened its doors to the public in July 1998, the crowds of people lining up to view the home of abstract artists George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen was greater than imagined." writes Jennifer Huberdeau of the Berkshire Eagle. "The New York Times had done a piece just days before. People in line were clutching the article in their hands," said Linda Frelinghuysen of that first day nearly 20 years ago. "We were prepared to take 10 people at a time on the tour, we had 16yr olds selling tickets and taking cash in the parking lot." "We were wondering if anyone would come out, "director Kinney Frelinghuysen reminisced. Click here for the full article.
FMH&S was awarded a $19,185 matching grant from the Lenox Community Preservation Fund to repair and restore a major structural issue of the 1941 stucco modern house. Water damage at the base of the dining room sliders resulted in a structural failure from the bedroom above the dining room. The dining room's steel doors and marble base will be restored and repaired. Work on the project begins immediately.
"Across the Berkshires, historic homes are emerging from hibernation...At the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, cold air, large expanses of glass and moisture combine as threats to art," writes Ruth Bass, Berkshire Eagle columnist and author of this feature in their Up Country magazine. Click here to read the whole article about all the homes, starting on page 63.
Suzy Frelinghuysen led dual occupations, as a painter and as an opera singer. She was the first woman to have a painting placed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Living Art in l937. In 1947 she attained instant success with her opera debut in Ariadne auf Naxos at City Center. She explained, "I feel that all of the arts are closely connected, so I don't understand why some people are surprised if you paint act and sing. I do these things because I have fun doing them". She later secured the legacy for the art collection she and her husband, artist George L.K. Morris assembled, now at the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio in Lenox, Massachusetts.
View an informative and entertaining lecture by Emily Braun, curator of the Leonard Lauder Cubist Collection at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center--Cuny. She reveals the stories the historic labels on the backs of paintings tell us and examines the hidden imagery by Cubist Master Juan Gris. Click here to view.
The Alfond Collection is part of the permanent collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. A significant part of The Alfond Collection is on view at The Alfond Inn, a philanthropic boutique hotel near the Rollins campus whose proceeds fund student scholarships. Previously, the painting was in two other private collections and is now on view at the Cornell Museum at Rollins College in the exhibit, "Forging a Modern American Identity: New Aquisitions".Click on the link to the show here
With great sadness, FMH&S announces the death of Christine Beshar, a founding trustee of the museum. Mrs. Beshar achieved a number of firsts in her lifetime. She was the first woman partner at a Wall Street firm and pioneered child care services at the law firm. She passed the NY bar by reading the law, not attending law school. Aside from her brillance, she had wit, compassion, optimism, love of art, and could truly think outside the box. We owe her a great debt. Enjoy her New York Times obituary by clicking here.
Spring Sun, a large 1970 oil painting by George L.K. Morris, sold for $52,500 last week, which was more than double its pre-sale estimate, at Shannons Auction in Connecticut. The 42" x 51" work of art, sold by a private collector, is composed of cheerful colors evoking springtime growth. The title refers to Morris' interest in Native American themes.
View the videos from the final digitizing of the 16mm 1930's travel films by artist George L.K. Morris. Never before seen footage of South and Central America, the Netherlands and France in color. Click here to see the silent films.
The circa 1905 claro walnut Knabe has been completely refinished and restored and is back in the Living Room on the new leather floor. Click here to hear musician Dave Wright from Concord, Massachusetts test out the new action!
Indian Composition, 1938, a large oil painting by George L.K. Morris, is now on view in the Metropolitan Museum's newly configured Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery. It is hanging in Gallery 913 after its conservation.
Director Kinney Frelinghuysen presented at the massive Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) last week on the Future of the Modern Past at Landmark Houses, one of three case studies. Our mission finds strength in numbers!
"Finding the right person to install your new tile floor can be difficult. Finding the right person to install your new leather floor? Nearly impossible. It was just one of the many challenged faced by Kinney Frelinghuysen, director of the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, when the museum's trustees decided it was time to replace the leather living room floor" writes Jennifer Huberdeau.Read the full article here.--and her companion article here describing the gifts made from repurposed leather tiles.
Seasons's highlights include “American Abstract Artists-A Collection-Unseen Works” with 25 works by Frelinghuysen and Morris' fellow American Abstract Artists. Ten of these previously unseen works were aquired from the groundbreaking first AAA show in 1937, organized to combat strong critical resistance to abstraction in that era. Click Continue Reading for more names and dates.
Acrylic artist Scott Taylor demonstrates his technique beginning at 11am, free with admission.
Experience a new technique for looking at modern art, led by Director/Artist Kinney Frelinghuysen in the Studio from 10-noon. Color aid paper and charcoal and sketchbooks provided.
In June, Google will be capturing the galleries of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas using its Street View technology and has selected Frelinghuysen's Glass and Bottle, 1948, as one of the artworks to be photographed using its ultra high resolution Art Camera. The Google Arts & Culture project has partnered with over 1200 museums all over the world to expand global access to artwork. Crystal Bridges Museum aquired the 30"x40" oil on board painting in 2015.
Watch the sold out OLLI adult education class from this spring. Join in with your own sketchpad see how easy and fun it is! Click here for day one.
After years of solar radiation, moisture, and the freeze/thaw cycle, the outdoor fresco painted by George L.K. Morris in the 1940's needed to be conserved. Cassie Myers, a conservator specializing in murals, is re-attaching the loose stucco which adheres to the base wall and is "in painting" the losses on the mural surfaces. She is retaining the integrity of the artwork in this painstaking process.
Staff member Rachel joined in to remove the leather floor in the Living Room. We are brainstorming ideas for gift shop items recycled from the orginal floor with local leather artist Michael King. Stay tuned for updates and images of the replacement leather floor.
"The place is startling even when you know it's coming. Part of the surprise stems from the location: the old and self assured village of Lenox, Massachusetts--the Berkshire Mountains summer seat of Gilded Age worthies who built estates..." CLICK HERE to read the full article.by writer Gregory Cerio and photographs by John Hall.
Watch the sold out OLLI adult education class from last spring. Click here to enjoy day two!
Watch author Hugh Howard's sold out slide lecture from this summer. Click here for a front row seat!
You didn't miss curator, author and archivist Eugene R. Gaddis' slide lecture on the Modernist dynamo Chick Austin.
Click here to view the pictures of his idiosyncratic house operated by the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut and hear the story of one of Modernism's unsung heros.