- Titles Nude at the Window (Alternate)
- Artist Frederick Carl Frieseke, American, 1874 - 1939
- Medium oil on canvas
- Dimensions 36 1/2 x 28 3/4 in. (92.7 x 73 cm) frame: 41 1/4 x 33 3/4 in. (104.8 x 85.7 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of the Mahdah R. Kniffin Estate, 1981.18
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- Inscription Recto, lower right, paint: F.C. Frieseke / 1920
- Provenance Probably the artist; Viola Roden Redin (1875-1947), Paris, between 1919 and about 1940 [see note 1]; inherited by Ella Lee “Mahdah” Redin Kniffin (1902-1953), Paris and Hartford, Connecticut, around 1932-1940; bequeathed to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, but to remain with her husband, Leonard Dodd Kniffin, Jr. (1904 - 1971), until his death [see note 2]; on deposit to her husband, Leonard Dodd Kniffin, Jr., Hartford, Connecticut; retained by Louise Rogers Kniffin (1908-1998), Hartford, Connecticut, 1971; received by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, 1981
1. Affidavit of Lorol B. Rucker, niece of Viola Roden Redin (‘Auntie Gayle’), and cousin of Ella Lee Mahdah Kniffin, about 1980, page 2 and 3, describes the collecting practices of Viola Roden Redin, who: “became a patron of the arts, became personally acquainted, and indeed good friends, with a number of artists living in France at the time. Chief among the friends of Auntie Gayle and Mahdah in the 1920’s and 1930’s and 1940’s were the German-American artists, Carl Frederick Friesecke, his wife, Sadie, and his daughter, Frances, and the Chicago teacher and artist, Carl Werntz and his wife, Millicent… During the time period between approximately 1919 and 1940, a substantial number of paintings by Friesecke, Werntz and other artists acquired in France by Auntie Gayle and kept in the apartments maintained in Paris by Auntie Gayle and Mahdah. All of the paintings were acquired by Mahdah’s mother, my Aunt Gayle….” The Kniffin collection also includes another Cassatt painting from this sale, 199.188. A portion an original copy of the auction catalogue is in the object file for another Cassatt at the BMA from the Kniffin bequest (1971.26).
2. Rucker said in the September 17, 1980 deposition, page 20, that after Leonard and Mahdah married, her aunt “gave them her apartment and all the contents, to her daughter. She gave all of the furniture and all of the paintings, etcetera, except the things that she brought over with her to set up an apartment in New York. And so the paintings stayed in Paris and everything stayed in Paris till 1940, when- 1939-1940.”
They married on April 30, 1932 according to the “Kniffin-Redin.” Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). April 24, 1932. Page 22. Rucker recalls in the deposition, page 20, that the wedding occurred in 1935 or 1936. Based on Rucker’s recollections, Viola had given Mahdah and Leonard the paintings sometime after their marriage in the 1930s before 1940.
Mahdah and Leonard Kniffin “had the Louvre packers come in and pack all their things up” in 1939 or 1940. The paintings were stored in a warehouse in Marseille, and shipped to the United States in 1943 or 1944.
3. Louis Kniffin claimed that the nine of the paintings received by the Museum after the death of Leonard Kniffin satisfied Mahdah Kniffin’s bequest. She argued that she should inherit the other paintings as his widow. In an agreement between the Birmingham Museum of Art and Louise Kniffin (Mrs. Leonard D. Kniffin, Jr.), dated November 19, 1980, the City of Birmingham (representing the BIrmingham Museum of Art) agreed that “The following of Mrs. Kniffin’s paintings now in her possession at her home will be donated by her as soon as possible to the Birmingham Museum of Art….” This list of paintings included 1981.18.