You didn't miss "Beyond Monuments--Recognizing and Preserving the Ephemeral in America" last summer. Click below to watch!
Watch an entertaining and informative lecture by Richard Guy Wilson, Professor Emeritus of Architectural History at the University of Virginia as well as author of many books on architecture and design including Machine Age in America and Modern Architecture in America. He skillfully explores the question, "what do we preserve in our culture?".Click here to watch.
Closed until next Spring! Thank you to all our appreciative visitors, sample some of the comments below!
We really enjoyed the Director’s Corner and learning so much about Suzy’s mission and legacy for this amazing property! ”- Christine and James. Lenox, MA.
“ I like that everything isn’t put behind glass or labelled, it makes this very intimate” -Albert. Ft. Collins, CO.
“ What a lovely way to immerse oneself in another time!” -Kim. Stephentown, NY.
“Not only were they both amazing artists but they were in love, and they shared that love with the world” – Eleana. Lenox, MA
“We loved the property and the personalized tours by the knowledgeable staff and family” -Alex. Great Barrington, MA
“LOVE TERRY’S BLOCK PRINT DEMO!”-Sara. Sun Valley, ID.
“Every time, I notice more imagery. Kinney leads a very casual and informative tour. What amazing people Suzy and George l.k are” – Hank. Washington, D.C.
"GREAT WATERCOLOR DEMO WITH SALLY!"- Catherine and Bruce. Lee, MA.
“MY ART DECO ERA DREAM!” -Eric. NY, NY.
“Sorry it took me so many years to discover this local (to Lenox) treasure. Just wonderful. Thanks also to the lovely staff.” J. from Port Jefferson, NY.
Take a Day Trip to a Modernist's Paradise--FMH&S Provides a Splendid View of two Groundbreaking Artistic Lives
"As you enter the living room, there’s a step down to an intimate wet bar. The room, with a 1905 concert Knabe piano in the corner, has a leather floor and features a wall of windows framing a heritage apple tree and star magnolia fronting a lush garden and grounds.George painted two frescos to either side of the fireplace, large enough in scale that they are referred to as “gentle giants", writes Don Stewart for the Greenfield Reporter. Click here to read the whole article.
We are open Weekends from 10-4 until Columbus Day with self-guided written and audio tours assisted by our knowledgeable guides. Highlights include: Get to Know George and Suzy in the Studio featuring an intimate view into their lives and traces their individual paths of artistic expression. Hear George's voice from the newly digitized oral interview from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. He describes his upbringing and his evolution as an artist. Influences from their Cubist collection including Picasso, Braque, Leger & Gris are explored. New this season, enjoy greater access to the house as we re-open more rooms. Saturdays at 11:15 join nephew Kinney Frelinghuysen in Director's Corner as he leads a quick discussion of paintings on view. Exercise your Creativity Sundays from 11-1 with free flowing art "happy hours" with no rules, no specific plans to follow and no judgement.
We are opening June 22nd for the Season! Until then we are opening new rooms to view, buffing the leather floor, painting the Gazebo, and reliving some of your encouraging comments.
“A revelation! Docents are fabulous.” – Liz
“Beautiful grounds, wonderful walk, video and Koi Pond! Artwork is amazing! Thank you!” -Lindsay and Marshal
“I was driven to tears, thank you.” -Avis
“A real highlight of our trip! So glad we finally got here!” -Laura
“Enjoyed the interactive discussion and learning more about looking at abstract art. Thank you.” -Zoe
“We love mid century modern and this was a great addition to our exploration of that period!”- John
“I learned more about viewing art today than in the rest of my life. Kudos to Kinney!”-Mary and Alan
“I’ve been all over the Berkshires, but this is the crown jewel!”-Hannah and Rodney
“After a lifetime of visiting museums, I can honestly say there is no one like you!”-David and Richard
“I consider myself an intermediate to advanced art lecture attendee… the lecture I attended at your museum really opened a new world for me and now I appreciate modern art even more. What a gift!” -Abby
Join artist/director Kinney Frelinghuysen August 20th @ 11am for a color workshop. Participants will work with color aid paper to create simple color harmonies. Free with admission and materials donation is suggested. The workshop will be held on the patio outside the Studio, inside if it rains.
"From a young age, Suzy Frelinghuysen had two artistic passions — painting and the opera. Frelinghuysen pursued both her passions as careers, successfully," writes Jennifer Huberdeau of the Berkshire Eagle. "She was the first woman to have a painting permanently placed in A.E. Gallatin's Museum of Living Art and in 1943, was included in Peggy Guggenheim's "Exhibition by 31 Women" at the Art Of This Century Gallery in New York. She performed with the New York City Opera from 1947 to 1950..." Click here to read the whole article.
Join us Saturday August 19th at 2pm for a slide lecture with Richard Guy Wilson titled, Beyond the Monuments—Recognizing and Preserving the Ephemeral In America.
Richard Guy Wilson is Commonwealth Professor Emeritus in Architectural History at the University of Virginia, a TV commentator, and author of books on architecture and design including Machine Age in America and Modern Architecture in America.Space is limited, please book online.
"The Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio is a modernist dream--displaying furniture by modern masters, original frescoes by the artists who lived there, and a collection of abstract and cubist art gathered by Morris to help with his own artistic development. He amassed a sterling collection, including works by Fernand Leger, Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso and other seminal artists who were creating a new sensibility that was destined to define an era." Read the full article by writer Ellen Spear and photographer Jimmy ienner, Jr.Click here to read.
Berkshire Flyer patrons receive 1/2 price off general admission. Buy your tickets on our website or at the door and show your Flyer ticket to receive the discount! The Berkshire Flyer will provide rail service from NYC to Pittsfield weekends from May 26th-October 9th.Weekend trips run May 26-October 9th and typically sell out so book now!
At present, we are requiring masks for visiting the House & Studio indoors. Our Health and Safety protocol will be updated continually in conjunction with the local health department.
In our third episode of Abstract Therapy, “Embracing Abstraction,” we dive into a classically trained artist’s journey to abstraction. George L.K. Morris did a series of sketches titled Garden Composition and shows us a progression from inspiration to final painting. Stay tuned as we get ready for our summer season! Garden Composition #4, 1934, 36x30, oil on canvas. Click here for the experience.
Open 10-4 with self-guided audio and written tours. Director's Corner with nephew/director Kinney Frelinghuysen each day @11:15.Join him as he does a quick highlight of the paintings on view. Contour drawing each day@2pm, a quick and interactive experience, sketch pads provided. Highlights include Suzy Frelinghuysen-Painter & Opera Singer-Influences of Cubism & Music in her Art. Her dual career is explored with music-infused collages and opera costumes on display as well as the paintings which most closely reference the Master Cubist collection of hers and her husband's.Historic Artists Homes & Studios photo exhibit titled Artists at Home*is on view in the Classroom as well as the Documentary.
Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State opened A Way Through: Abstract Art of the 1940's examining the evolution of abstract art in America. Major works by Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L.K. Morris are on view along with fellow American Abstract Artists. The group was formed in l936 in New York and was a precursor to the New York School and Abstract Expressionism. These midcentury artists experimented with a broad range of abstraction and new modes of visual expression. A Way Through was made possible through a partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Initiative. The exhibit is on view through May 15, 2022.
Wishing you all a Bonne Annee! This is a New Year's card in the collection that was sent to George L.K. Morris and his wife Suzy Frelinghuysen from Dutch artist Cesar Domela. He was a friend and collaborator of George L.K. Morris and the youngest member of the De Stijl movement which included Mondrian. The card is made with a pipe cleaner and corrugated paper.
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio is lending a painting from its collection to the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit, “Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction”, on view November 21-March 12th. This major exhibit, following venues in London and Berlin, surveys this multidisciplinary artist’s career, when it was radical to be a multimedia artist. This Swiss born artist created paintings, reliefs, architectural and interior designs, polychrome marionettes, textiles, and beadwork. Sophie Taeuber-Arp was in the shadow of her more famous husband, Jean (Hans) Arp, as were many female artists.
George L.K. Morris was friends with the couple and collaborated with them and Caesar Domela on the art magazine, “Plastique” during its short run from 1937-1939. Morris bought this painting of gouache on paper, titled Composition in a Circle (10”x13”) from Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1937. The same year, in his capacity as Chairman of the Advisory Committee at MoMA, Morris acquired a sculpture by Jean Arp for the museum, as well as a Mondrian and Miro. He collected works by these artists who were little known at the time, and for himself, at the same time.
Join us for a new series where we engage with selected works from the collection and enhance your experience with them. Each 2-minute video in this series will also highlight a specific technique that the artist would use. This video features Suzy Frelinghuysen's Untitled mural c.1950 created with tempura on plaster and her use of color. Click here to view this short video.
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.
Join us Tuesday mornings for the FREE Visual & Drawing Class via ZOOM @ 11am-12pm, with Director and artist Kinney Frelinghuysen. By popular demand, the Focus on Color will continue for the next Tuesday, March 16th for the last class of this term. Be ready with paints, pastels, or colored pencils and paper. You should have at least 6 colors from the color wheel as we will make swatches. 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.
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.
"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.
"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.
Suzy Frelinghuysen's "Composition" sells for $552,500 at Christie's sale of Ebsworth Estate setting record
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 to present at New England Museum Association Conference on Suzy Frelinghuysen
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.
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.
"Precision Bombing", a 1944 oil painting by George L.K Morris, aquired by The Alfond Collection of Art at Rollins College
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.
Gift a piece of the House's history with custom carved and painted re-purposed leather coasters from the original leather floor in the living room. Choose from three different handmade sets of coasters by artist Michael King that are reproductions of paintings by George L.K. Morris. To order these reasonably priced works of art starting at $125, email us at
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!