Mountain Art & Artists
William Charles Anthony Frerichs (1829-1905)
Frerichs was born in Ghent Belgium, the son of William Daniel, a general in the Dutch Army. His name at birth was Wilhelm Karel Anthonius Frerichs. He was educated in Belgium, having studied medicine at the University of Leyden and art at the Royal Academies in The Hague and Brussels. When he was only 18 years old, he completed a 12 x 17 foot painting that was purchased for the emperor of Russia. He was well traveled and enhanced his art training with independent study in Paris, Rome, and Vienna.
He emigrated to the United States in 1850. He settled first in New York City and exhibited at the National Academy of Design for the only time in 1854. He married Clara Branwhite Butler on January 1, 1854, and they had three children, Helena, Pauline, and William Desire. Following his marriage, he moved to and taught art in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1854 to 1863. During this period, he painted numerous wilderness landscapes in the region. In 1863, fire destroyed most of his work. There was no longer secure employment in the war-ravaged South and after two difficult years, Frerichs returned to New York nearly destitute. In 1869 he moved to Tottenville, Staten Island and later to Newark, New Jersey where he operated an art school. In 1874, his wife Clara died. He remarried and had two more sons, Alexander and Eugene. He died in Tottenville March 16, 1905. While Frerichs is remembered today for his landscape paintings, he also produced portraits, still-life compositions, and animal and religious subjects. Frerichs seems to have been an outsider all his life. He was never an active member of the circle of landscape painters centered in New York. He was an infrequent exhibitor and exhibited only once at the National Academy (1854).