After studying fine art at the University of Nebraska and then at the Kansas City Art Institute, Lois Frederick received in 1953 the very prestigious Fulbright award. In 1954, a very rare phenomenon, Lois Frederick won this scholarship a second time. Like many American artists, she decided to go to Paris to perfect her artistic training. The artist Loïs Frederick’s journey logically finds its place in the American cultural excitement in Paris. Lois Frederick thus remains in close contact with her culture of origin and therefore remains a fundamentally American artist.
Virtual visit of the exhibition “LOÏS FREDERICK: VITAL COLOUR”, from May 20 to June 10, 2020.
Virtual visit of the exhibition “LOÏS FREDERICK: VITAL COLOUR”,
from May 20 to June 10, 2020.
An American painter, Loïs Frederick was born and grew up in Nebraska. Her works are imbued with the immensity of this part of the American Great Plains region and its contrasting climates. After studying Fine Arts at the University of Nebraska and then at the Kansas City Art Institute, Loïs Frederick arrived in Paris in 1953, having received a Fulbright Award. Unusually she won this grant twice.
Living in the Cité Universitaire, she plunged into the effervescence of Post War abstraction in Paris. The art critic Marcel Brion, who followed her work, introduced her to the great artist of lyrical and gestural abstraction Gérard Schneider, who became her husband. Settled permanently in France, Loïs Frederick remained a profoundly American painter. Furthermore, in 1956, she contributed to the exhibition Peintres Abstraits Américains de Paris at the Galerie Arnaud. This was shown first in Paris, and then travelled around Germany. Her paintings also began to enter public collections. In 1953, the Denver Art Museum bought a painting from her and in 1954 in turn the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City acquired one of her works. In 1974, through the Gildas Fardel donation, a painting by Loïs Frederick entered the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Nantes. Loïs Frederick also regularly participated in key art events in Paris: the Salon de la Jeune Peinture (1954-1955), the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1957-1959), the Salon des Surindépendants (1962), the Salon d’Automne (1970-1983), the Salon Grands et Jeunes d’aujourd’hui (1971-1974). In 1963, she was among the artists represented in the group exhibition of the École de Paris at the Galerie Charpentier. A woman painter, she was also included, alongside Sonia Delaunay, Joan Mitchell, Niki de Saint Phalle and others, in the group show La part des femmes dans l’art contemporain shown at Vitry-sur-Seine which, in the 1980s, already highlighted the work of women painters. Loïs Frederick also participated in the leading exhibition for appreciating Lyrical Abstraction: Aspects de l’Art Abstrait des Années 1950, a travelling group show that circulated all over France in 1988-1989, with works by Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Gérard Schneider, Chu Teh-Chun, Zao Wou-Ki, Nicolas de Staël, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva…
Nothing predestined Loïs Frederick for being a painter and yet early on, she developed an intuition for colour. Influenced by Henri Matisse for his strong chromatic choices and Mark Rothko for the vibrancy of colour and search for light, her art is fully integrated into American Colorfield Painting. She worked in fact using flat areas of colour that she applied in layers, removing any depth in the composition. From the agricultural plains of Nebraska, Loïs Frederick was a terrestrial who created in her works a solidly constructed form of abstraction, worked vertically. It is the application of the paint, laid out on the canvas in a slow and controlled process of creation, that structures her work, using the painting technique developed by Hans Hofmann of push and pull, in which colours applied in dense flat areas “emerge from” and “recede” on the support, creating a network of contrasts in the painting. The paintbrush also stops well before the edge of the canvas, creating a network of coloured masses that are simultaneously solidly constructed and create a floating area, suited to a meditative space. With her large coloured fields, Loïs Frederick invites the viewer to an immersive experience in the work: a direct experience with colour, with light, in a space that has no horizon line.
After using a naturalist palette, at the start of the 1970s Loïs Frederick adopted acrylic and fluorescent paint that allowed her to obtain a very daring range of colours, with great contrasts: shrill, deafening blues, greens, yellows, pinks. However, the saturated colour did not prevent light from emerging from the background.
In 1986, Loïs Frederick lost her husband Gérard Schneider. She then devoted her energy for about fifteen years to promoting his art, moving for a while from being a woman artist to being the wife of an artist. It is a visual impulse, the headlight of a car piercing fog at the start of the 2000s, that brought Loïs Frederick back to painting. Her absolute search for light pushed her to use broad paintbrushes with fluorescent, strident colours against immaculate white backgrounds. Loïs Frederick died in Paris in 2013.
© Diane de Polignac Gallery / Mathilde Gubanski / Astrid de Monteverde
Translation: Jane Mac Avock
Denver, Denver Art Museum
Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nantes, Musée des Arts
Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
Paris, Centre national d’Art contemporain
Artists West of the Mississipi, Denver Art Museum, (purchase award), 1953
Mid-America exhibition, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, (purchase award), 1954
Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1954 & 1955
Peintres abstraits américains de Paris, Galerie Arnaud, Paris, travelling exhibition in Germany, 1956
Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1957-1959
Salon des Surindépendants, Paris, 1962
L’École de Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1963
Salon d’Automne, Grand Palais, Paris, 1970-1983
Salon Grands et Jeunes d’aujourd’hui, Pavillon Baltard, Paris, 1971-1974
Salon de Mai, Galerie de la Défense, Paris, 1976-1978
Loïs Frederick, peintures et gouaches, Le Grand- Cachot-de-Vent, Vallée de la Brévine (Neuchâtel – Switzerland), 1984
Loïs Frederick, peintures et gouaches, Galerie Suisse de Paris, Paris, 1984
La part des femmes dans l’art contemporain, Vitry-sur- Seine, 1984
Les Années 1950, travelling exhibition in France, 1985
Aspects de l’Art abstrait des années 1950, traveling group exhibition: Foyer de l’Opéra, Lille ; Vieille église Saint-Vincent, Bordeaux ; Auditorium Maurice Ravel, Lyon ; Chapelle Saint-Louis, Rouen ; Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, Toulouse ; Musée Hébert, Grenoble ; Palais de la Bourse, Nantes ; Casino Municipal, Royat ; Mairie de Nancy, 1988-1989
Bleu Jaune Rouge, la couleur libérée, Musée de Tessé, Le Mans, 2015
Loïs Frederick solo show, Galerie Diane de Polignac, Paris, 2015
Loïs Frederick, La couleur vitale, Galerie Diane de Polignac, Paris, 2020
Michel Faucher, Loïs Frederick, extract Cimaise n°186, January-February 1987, Paris
Loïs Frederick, exhibition catalog, Galerie Diane de Polignac, 2015
Alexandre Crochet, “An American woman in Paris” , article in Le quotidien de l’art, July 8th 2015
Loïs Frederick La couleur vitale, exhibition catalog, Galerie Diane de Polignac, 2020