Emil Carlsen Archives is a Non-profit organization running the world's largest visual archive of the work of painter Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]

Frye Art Museum [1952- ]

January 1, 1952

ECA Control Number: 21979

Record Level: Listing

Record Type: Private Gallery

Private Gallery Name: Frye Art Museum

Aka: The Frye

Founded: 1952

Closed/Acquired: n/a

Location(s): 704 Terry Ave, Seattle, WA 98104


“The Frye Art Museum is an art museum located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, USA. The museum emphasizes painting and sculpture from the nineteenth century to the present. Its holdings originate in the private collection of Charles (1858–1940) and Emma (d. 1934) Frye. Charles, owner of a local meatpacking plant, set aside money in his will for a museum to house the Fryes’ collection of over 230 paintings. The Frye Art Museum opened to the public in 1952, and was Seattle’s first free art museum. The museum building was originally designed by Paul Thiry, although it has since been considerably altered.

Charles Frye’s will required that the majority of the Fryes’ own collection continue always to be on view in rooms of a certain size; stipulations were also made about lighting conditions and specifically concrete floors (ultimately elided by placing wood over the concrete). He also required that admission always be free. These conditions were enough to keep the Seattle Art Museum from being interested in his collection.

The Fryes’ collection consisted entirely of representational works, with a tendency toward “the dark, the dramatic, and the psychological” rather than “the genteel”. The museum’s permanent collection reflects Charles Frye’s relatively conservative artistic tastes, and (despite the lack of any such stipulation in the will) the museum continued to be dedicated exclusively to representational art, both in its acquisitions and its exhibits. This conservatism reflected the artistic and social values of its first director, Walser Greathouse (d. 1966) and of his even more conservative widow and successor Ida Kay Greathouse, who ran the museum until 1993.

However, exhibits under new, professional management in recent years have been far more venturesome, eliciting comparisons to Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery. Exhibits in recent years have included “Wondertoonel,” an exhibit of Mark Ryden’s often morbid images of childhood, “The Retrofuturistic Universe of NSK” (2005), and “Henry Darger: Highlights from the American Folk Art Museum” (2006),[7] The museum has also repeatedly redeployed its permanent collection, experimenting with exhibiting it in different arrangements. In 2007, for the first time, other pieces are sharing the rooms dedicated to the original Frye collection; they are being juxtaposed against pieces from the Henry Art Gallery’s founding collection.”

Citation: “Frye Art Museum.”  Wikipedia.com  Updated April 23, 2017.  Accessed May 14, 2017.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frye_Art_Museum



2013-2014 Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA, “Frye Salon”, September 21, 2013 – September 14, 2014.



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Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.

Document License:
Creative Commons Corporation  shareAlike (sa) license.  Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.

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The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.

Record Birth Date:
May 14, 2017

Last Update:
May 14, 2017

©2013-2017 Emil Carlsen Archives

Digital-born Publication Title: Emil Carlsen Archives
Publication Subtitle: World's Largest Visual Reference Dedicated to the Preservation of the Work of Danish-American Impressionist/Realist Painter, Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]
Library of Congress Subject Authority Heading: Carlsen, Emil, 1853-1932
Emil Carlsen LC control no.: n 85141186
Publication Type: Online Integrating Resource
Language: English
Creator/Author: Emil Carlsen Archives
Published by: Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011
Edition: First
Frequency of Updates: Daily
Publish Date: 2013 –
End Date: none, continuing
Hosting: Single server (no mirrors)

MARC Organization Code: 41959
MARC Org Code: NyNyECA
MARC Org Code: normalized: nynyeca
Publisher ISSN : forthcoming