Skip to main content

Alfred J. Frueh papers, circa 1880-2010

Frueh, Alfred Joseph, 1880-1968

Painter, Designer, Cartoonist, Illustrator

This site provides access to the papers of Alfred Joseph Frueh in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 8,785 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 5.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of caricaturist and illustrator Alfred J. Frueh measure 5.4 linear feet and date from circa 1880-2010. These papers consist of biographical information, including a sound recording of reminiscences about Frueh by his children; correspondence that includes many illustrated letters and greeting cards; notes and writings; numerous caricature sketches, cartoons, and 25 sketchbooks by Frueh; printed material; and photographs of Frueh and his artwork. There is a 0.2 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated 2018 that includes Christmas cards by Frueh, photographs and personal correspondence. materials date from circa 1880-1968.
Biographical materials include birth, marriage, and death certificates, biographical notes, employment contracts, obituaries, and legal papers concerning patents and license agreements for toy animals and sheet material sculpture. Also included is a 1993 sound recording of Frueh's children reminiscing about their father. Correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters with a small number of interfiled replies drafted by Frueh.
Most of Frueh's surviving outgoing letters are addressed to Giuliette Fanciulli (whom he married in 1913), her parents, and his sister Minnie Frueh. Many of the letters to Giuliette and other family members are illustrated. Also included are a large number of greeting cards (mainly Christmas cards) containing original artwork, from friends, artists, writers, and colleagues. The correspondence concerns both personal and career matters. Notable correspondents are: George Gershwin, Robert Henri, Mr. and Mrs. Elie Nadelman, Eugene O'Neil, Walter and Magda Pach, New Yorker editor Harold Ross, and Alfred Stieglitz. Other letters document Frueh's interest in nut and fruit trees.
Among the notes and writings by Frueh are notes of ideas for art work, lists of caricature sketches, lists of plays and their casts, and 8 address books kept by Alfred and Giuliette Frueh and by Giuliette and her mother. Also included are 6 notebooks of miscellaneous jottings. Notes and writings by other authors consist of lists of caricature sketches, a poem by an unknown writer, and 13 short stories by "Joe" with 6 illustrations by Frueh.
Artwork by Frueh comprises the largest series. It consists mainly of caricature sketches, mostly theatrical, but some political, with a few of himself, his wife Giuliette, and their personal friends. In addition, there are various sketches, drawings, designs, prints, watercolors, cartoons, book covers, greeting cards, paper sculptures, pop-ups, and cut-outs. Also included are patterns for greeting cards, lamp bases and a shade, magic squares, paper sculptures, sheet material sculptures, toy animals, and wallpaper. There are also 25 sketchbooks, a DVD containing a slideshow presentation of 1600 images from the sketchbooks, and 3 caricatures of Frueh drawn by other artists.
Among the printed material are articles by and about Frueh; book covers and book jackets, magazine covers, invitations, announcements, and a program cover designed by Frueh; caricatures, cartoons, and illustrations by Frueh; exhibition catalogs and announcements of Frueh's solo and group shows; and miscellaneous printed material.
Photographs consist of a studio portrait and informal snapshots of Alfred Frueh and a photograph of his daughter Barbara as a young child. Photographs of artwork by Frueh include images of his caricatures, lamp bases, paper sculptures, and toy animals.

Biographical/Historical Note

Alfred J. Frueh (1880-1968) worked primarily in New York and was best known for his caricatures of theater personalities that appeared in The New Yorker from 1925 through 1962. In addition, he was a cartoonist, illustrator, painter, and designer of children's furniture, toys, pop-ups, and cut-outs.

Provenance

The Alfred J. Frueh papers were the gift of his children, Barbara Frueh Bornemann, Alfred J. Frueh, Jr., and Robert Frueh, in 1993 and 1997. An addition of 25 sketchbooks, Chirstmas cards, photographs and correspondence were given by his grandson Stephen Bornemann in 2011 and 2018.

Funding

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.