Jane Freilicher (in film star pose) Water Mill, NY, 1958
By John Jonas Gruen
R.I.P Jane Freilichner an outsider in era of Abstract Expressionism dies at 90.
The prevailing critical current, for most of her career, devalued the landscape and still-life genres. In landscape, what Mr. Ashbery called her “sweetness of tone” drew unfavorable comparisons with Mr. Porter’s moodier treatment of similar scenes.
“My work was deviant enough to explain why I was not rising through the ranks,” she told The New York Times in 1998. “But I liked not having the demands made on me a big career would have made. It allowed me a certain freedom to fool around.”
art news obit In 1958, the poet James Schuyler termed her “a poet’s painter who may yet become the public’s painter”—an apt description for her entire career.
Jane with Ruth Kligman and DeKooning.
Ashbery and O’Hara regularly sought her advice for poems in process. Urbane, affectionate, and gossipy, the letters put the artist’s legendary wit on display.
O’Hara wrote his celebrated series of “Jane poems,” weaving her name into the titles.(via)
Flying Point Road -1959
See more paintings by Jane here.
See Jane with Hartigan and Larry Rivers
The poet John Ashbery, with whom she shared a six-decade friendship, wrote, “Her pictures always have an air of just coming into being, of tentativeness that is the lifeblood of art.” The two met when Ashbery, fresh out of college, came to stay at the poet Kenneth Koch’s apartment at East 16th Street and Third Avenue, and Freilicher, who lived one floor above, provided the key to let him in. –
Jane and her friends
The depth of Koch’s friendship with Freilicher is equally evident. There’s a typed manuscript page for his script for The Automotive Story, a 1954 short film directed by Rudy Buckhardt featuring Jane Frelicher; likewise the painter’s portraits of Koch are reproduced, as is Freilicher’s painting The Car, alongside the painter and poet’s jokey collaborative text “A Car” (“Dashboard: I am my setting sun, a dashboard. / Clutch: I clutch. We like each other.”).