#FridayPainting: Frederick Carl Frieseke “Afternoon Tea on the Terrace”

Afternoon Tea on the Terrace” brings back many vivid memories, although I have never worn the bonnets, petticoats and full skirts of the era depicted. As for sitting on a terrace, I was more apt to sit on a sandy beach, a park bench, or a kitchen table. The delightful tradition of taking tea is not confined to time or location.

To me, this painting is about community, sharing a cup of tea and catching up with a friend.

I should have recognized the painter. After all, I chose a Frederick Carl Frieseke painting for my August 27th post: “Afternoon – Yellow Room.”

You may recall that Frederick Carl Frieseke is described as “the Decorative Impressionist” who was known to focus on various effects of dappled sunlight. He is especially known for painting female subjects, both indoors and out. He was am influential member of the famous Giverny Colony of American Impressionists, who left the United States to live and paint near the home of Claude Monet.

I understand that Afternoon Tea on the Terrace is available for purchase at Heather James Fine Art, which provides a wonderful background to this painting.

Afternoon Tea on the Terrace (1905-1906) was commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker as part of a mural for the Grand Deluxe Shelburn hotel in Atlantic City. The mural was later divided into seven pieces that were displayed in the hotel dining room. Frieseke’s earliest mural work was for his patron, Rodman Wanamaker. Other commissions included mural decorations that were installed in Wanamaer’s New York department store in 1904 and 1907, the Rodman Wanamaker Hotel in 1905, and the Amphitheater of Music in New York in 1908. Art historians credit Wanamaker’s constant commissions as being the sole reason Frieseke was able to devote himself to painting.” Heather James Fine Art

And here I will digress, as I often do, to consider Rodman Wanamaker, who is described as an American department store magnate and patron of arts, education, athletics, golf, and Native American scholarship. He was also an investor in early aviation.

The name Wanamaker was familiar to me – something that I had read about a few years back – something about price tags. Could this be the same person who invented the price tag? And then I saw Rodman’s father’s name – John Wanamaker. And then it all came together.

Yes, John Wanamaker was the inventor of the retail fixed pricing system that replaced bargaining (aka haggling). The idea came from his fair-mindedness – everyone should be charged the same price. People embraced this concept, especially when it came with his “satisfaction guaranteed” promise. For more check out this link: John Wanamaker and The Price Tag.

And so, dear friends, a painting that started my day on October 12, 2021, took me on a ride back into history. It is easy to digress when there are so many stories waiting to be heard.

27 Replies to “#FridayPainting: Frederick Carl Frieseke “Afternoon Tea on the Terrace””

  1. Stunning, just gorgeous!
    I adore Impressionism!
    Now I’ll regress. Timothy Eaton began the radical idea of price tags in 1869. (Mail order)
    Then in 1905, when he opened the first Eaton in Winnipeg Manitoba, he employed all of his ideas.

    “Timothy Eaton had introduced some then still revolutionary ideas in retail: one price, no haggling, prices indicated on the items, cash, no credit, and a something almost unheard of anywhere, a guarantee on products sold, which later became the store slogan, “goods satisfactory or money refunded”.

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    1. I love your comments about Timothy Eaton – my favouite store. Living up in Northern Canada, we relied on Eatons mail order. We even had a sofa delivered along with material to sew our clothes. It was a sad day when they closed their doors. I think that Timothy Eaton created the fixed price. I just found this quote from the Canadian Encyclopedia: “In Toronto, Timothy and wife Margaret paid $6,500 for a dry goods retail operation. In December 1869, they opened a store that accepted cash only, at a fixed price, breaking with expectations of bargaining and credit sales.”https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/t-eaton-company-limited

      I then looked up when the price tag came into being – this from Wikipedia : “Wanamaker was an innovator, creative in his work, a merchandising genius, and proponent of the power of advertising, though modest and with an enduring reputation for honesty. Although he did not invent the fixed price system, he is credited for the creation of the price tag; he popularized it as the industry standard.”

      I also know that a Canadian invented the tea bag FIRST.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Growing up in the PEG… lol.. I was always proud about the T. Eaton Company.
        We learned about him, and his store in school! First price tags!!! OMG!
        In grade 10, I was nominated for Freshie Queen. Didn’t win. A gorgeous blonde, hair to her knees won.
        I digress, thing is I bought my dress (stiff pink lace) from Eaton’s catalogue.
        They had a pick-up counter behind the actual store, for those of us who lived in the city. No waiting for the mail!
        I am still upset about how the Eaton family destroyed the business. I miss Eaton’s.
        xo

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another painting by an artist the we have enjoyed before. His paintings were colorful, displaying beautiful women, beautifully dressed in bright colors. Can you imagine him allowing his painting to be cut in pieces to be displayed in a popular hotel room! Thank you for mentioning the “invention” of the price tag, what an interesting aside. And, I understand Afternoon Tea on the Terrace” can be purchased!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you see the price?!!! I wondered the same thing – how did Frieseke feel about his mural being changed. I am certain that it was done with his blessing. It seems that he and R Wanamaker had a great relationship over the years. Patrons have a very special place in art history. With their support artists were able to create amazing art – our lives are the richer for the patrons. Have you noticed how easy it is to go from one thought to another and another – one search to another. I recognized the name Wanamaker but it took a few hours to place the memory. We have certainly seen a great deal of price tags over the years!

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    1. Oh Marina – what a wonderful comment to receive. You always give joy to my day. Friendships make our lives beautiful. Sending hugs!

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    1. They have indeed, Sylvia. I can only imagine how much time was taken dress for an afternoon outing during the Victorian era. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to step into this painting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t this gorgeous. How I would love to join these ladies and chat the afternoon away! I will content myself with raising my teacup to you, dear friend ☕️💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that we can share a cup of tea together, Liz. Heading over to meet up with Fyodor Dostoyevsky for the #KaramazovReadalong – tea is necessary as the plot thickens. What an adventure we’ve been on and more to come! Sending many hugs!

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      1. Can you believe that we are almost at the end of this adventure. My Russian Caravan Tea has kept me going through the twists and turns!! I confess that I added too much raspberry jam to the tea, but it really is a delicious combination.

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    1. This painting reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. Do you remember the scene in Chapter 16 – Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results. Anne was so excited!

      “Oh, Marilla!” Anne clasped her hands. “How perfectly lovely! You are able to imagine things after all or else you’d never have understood how I’ve longed for that very thing. It will seem so nice and grown-uppish. No fear of my forgetting to put the tea to draw when I have company. Oh, Marilla, can I use the rosebud spray tea set?”

      When I first came upon Frederick Carl Frieseke, I wondered how he was able to support himself with his painting. Now I know that it was Rodman Wanamaker’s commissions that made it possible for him to pursue his artistic endeavours. I am reminded that art has come to us because of the generosity of patrons. So glad you enjoyed the painting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love, love, love, Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon. Have you read that series? I love it above Anne. Emily is the reason I started writing as a girl. Lots of artists are prepared to starve in garrets. I would love too but I have to pay for all Michael’s very expensive medical treatment and the boys education. I can’t rescind on my obligations to my adored sons [and my adored mother who I buys things for all the time].

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Robbie – I am beginning to think that South Africa has more hours in a day than on my side of the world. The amount of writing and reading you accomplish while you are balancing work/life is remarkable. As well, your support and encouragement within the writing community is stellar. I am thankful that you read Emily of New Moon. You write because you were meant to write. As Lucy Maud Montgomery once wrote: “You have the itch for writing born in you. It’s quite incurable. What are you going to do with it?”

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