Composition, c. 1940s
Oil and collage on masonite
8 x 10 inches
Suzy Frelinghuysen was born to an affluent family in Newark, New Jersey, and enjoyed a privileged upbringing. She attended Miss Fine’s School of Princeton, where she developed an interest in art and music. At the age of eighteen she moved to New York to become an opera singer. In 1935 Frelinghuysen married the artist George L. K. Morris, after which she developed a more serious interest in art. In 1937 she joined the American Abstract Artists, a group cofounded by Morris to promote abstract art in the country.
Frelinghuysen was known for her work in collage, a style drawn from the multilayered synthetic cubist compositions of Picasso, Braque, and Gris. She layered clippings of ephemeral material, such as newspapers, music sheets, and product labels, with her cubist forms. Like her Parisian influences, her work is textured and boldly graphic. The present work combines these characteristic elements. The covers of two gallery catalogues cut into various pieces are affixed to the surface of the patterned and textured board. Le Portique was a progressive gallery in Paris, and Demotte was a gallery with locations in both Paris and New York. With its subdued palette, this composition highlights Frelinghuysen’s ability as a colorist.