George Wilhelm Frye (Germany/Alabama, 1822-1872) signed oil on canvas portrait of two girls, presumably sisters, one wearing a white dress and standing, placing a garland in the hair of the other girl, who is seated and wearing a rose colored dress and holding a rose. Unidentifiable landscape in background. Signed and dated en verso "Wm. Frye pinxt Aug 1869" with additional later inscription "Restored Feb. '49 Lynchburg, VA" and illegible name. Housed in the original giltwood and composition molded frame with applied fruit and flowers, 34" x 27 1/2" opening, 45" x 37" frame overall. Provenance: Virginia collection. Biography: George Wilhelm (William) Frye (1822-1872) was a portrait artist from Germany who established a studio in Huntsville, AL (Madison County); he also painted in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. His depictions of life in the western Black Belt of Alabama were important records of the antebellum period in the state. He also tutored future Alabama artist Maria Howard Weeden for two years. Historians are able to follow his career through court records and the newspaper advertisements Frye placed in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee; several advertisements in Alabama newspapers announce his relocations. By 1845, Frye had settled in Louisville, Kentucky, where he painted portraits, and he opened a second studio in Huntsville by March 1847 while maintaining the Louisville location at least into 1848. On May 18, 1848, he married Virginia Hale in Hunstville; the couple would have four children. He became a U.S. citizen on August 29, 1854, in Madison County. During the next several years, Frye opened temporary studios in numerous locations around the South, including Memphis, Tennessee, and advertised his services there for four months in 1857. Frye's growing reputation as a portrait painter prompted the Agricultural and Horticultural Society Fair of West Alabama to enlist him as a fine arts judge in 1859". (source: "The Encyclopedia of Alabama" by E. Bryding Adams). Alternate spelling George William Frey. CONDITION: Original canvas with yellowed varnish. 2 1/2" area of exfoliation with 3/8" flake and some infill near upper center, between standing girl's cheek and seated girl's hair; scattered discoloration in varnish layer, and a few spots of inpainting in seated girl's hair. Rubbing to canvas, upper stretcher. Regilding to frame with some losses to embellishments.
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