Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- Frederick Carl Frieseke painted in the American impressionist style inspired by the earlier French impressionist painters. Frieseke was especially interested in capturing sunlight in his paintings.
- The seated woman in this painting is Frieseke’s wife Sadie. The setting is the couple’s home in Giverny, France.
- Frieseke was an American artist who was originally from Michigan, but he lived most of his life in France. He spent summers in Giverny, where there was a colony of American impressionist painters.
- Frieseke painted his wife as a refined and cultured woman, taking tea and reading in her garden. The artist focused on the female form and on women’s private lives in many of his paintings. He used a different approach from other impressionist painters, who mostly painted landscapes.
- The Japanese parasol, or umbrella, is highlighted by the sunlight in the painting. This parasol is a symbol of growing globalization of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Japan had been forced to open trade with western countries, and many western artists became interested in Japanese decorative arts. This trend is known as “Japonisme.”
Frieseke’s sumptuous confection of color evokes the serene pleasure of a summer afternoon. The setting is the garden of the artist’s house at Giverny, France, where Frieseke spent many summers as a near neighbor to Claude Monet.
The painter poses his wife as a cultivated woman of leisure. Her reading is interrupted by the arrival of a visitor—or visitors—for it is our approach that prompts her to look up from her book. Any small drama that might arise from our encounter, however, is upstaged by the vibrancy of the sun-dappled garden and especially by the Japanese parasol aglow from the afternoon light.
tags: weather, fashion, seasons, color
Resources for Teachers
- Read an article about the Giverny art colony.
- Read a blog post about Asian influence on western decorative arts in the 19th century.
- Read an article about Frederick Carl Frieseke.
Resources for Students