Oscar Friström
Oscar Friström

Carl Magnus Oscar Friström (1856 – 26 June 1918), generally known as Oscar Fristrom, was a portrait painter and art teacher born in Sweden, who had a substantial career in Queensland and South Australia, and was best known for his depictions of Aboriginal Australians. Fristrom did a number of Aboriginal portraits and paintings.[1]

History

Fristrom was born a son of C. Friström of Sweden, and may have come to Australia as a sailor.[2] He worked for a time in Hutchison's Elite Photographic Studios in Queen Street, Brisbane before taking up painting as a full-time occupation.[citation needed]

He was largely self-taught, but his second oil painting was of sufficient merit to be shown at the 1886 Brisbane Exhibition.

He was, with L. W. K. Wirth, James Laurence Watts, and Walter Jenner, in 1888 a founding member of the Queensland Art Society. This led to R. Godfrey Rivers working for the foundation of the Queensland National Art Gallery.[3]

He left for Adelaide in September 1893, where he found employment with Fritz & Co. photographic studio, and in November was accepted as a member of the Adelaide Easel Club.[citation needed] While in Adelaide, Fristrom painted and sketched portraits of well-known Adelaide identity, Aboriginal man Poltpalingada Booboorowie.[4][5] In August 1894 an exhibition of oil portraits by Fristrom was mounted at the "Easel Clubroom" at 62, Rundle Street in Adelaide.[6]

He returned to Brisbane in September 1894.[citation needed]

The Society of Artists went into decline around 1901. In 1904 a new Society of Artists was formed; meetings were held in Fristrom's studio in "Oakden Chambers", Queen Street. Fristrom was its president at the time of his death, as well as a member of the advisory board of the Queensland National Art Gallery.

Family

Oscar married Caroline Rooke (1865 – 17 July 1948) of Breakfast Creek, Queensland; in 1911 they settled at Mooloolah, Queensland, later moved to Caloundra, then 52 Wharf Street, Brisbane. She was well known as a musician and music teacher. They had two children:

Oscar had a brother Edward Friström, also an artist in Brisbane, and from 1903 in New Zealand. He married Margaret Johnston of South Brisbane in July 1886; they had a daughter Olivia, a promising pianist, and a son. Another brother, Tage Edward Friström, a member of the US Voluntary Infantry, was killed in 1898 fighting Spain in Manila.[8]

Dying on 26 June 1918,[9] his funeral moved from the funeral parlour of John Hislop & Sons to the South Brisbane Cemetery.[10]

Notable works

Bust of Augustus Charles Gregory sculpted by Oscar Fristrom in 1905
Bust of Augustus Charles Gregory sculpted by Oscar Fristrom in 1905

In 1905 Fristrom sculpted a bust of Augustus Charles Gregory, an explorer and first Surveyor-General of Queensland.[11][12] In February 1906, Fristrom offered to sell the bust to the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland but the society decided not to buy it;[13] however, they did display it at an event in June 1906.[14] For many years the bust was displayed at Freemasons’ Gregory Lodge in Cairns (Gregory being depicted wearing his Masonic regalia). In 2018, the Freemasons donated the bust to the Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying in Brisbane.[15] As at 10 March 2020, the bust is at the entrance of the museum.

References

  1. ^
    This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "OSCAR FRISTROM AND HIS ABORIGINAL PAINTINGS". John Oxley Library - State Library of Queensland Blogs. State Library of Queensland. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Swedish-Australian Trade Journal". The Brisbane Courier. 1 January 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Art and Artists". The Brisbane Courier. 20 December 1930. p. 19. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "AA 103/01 - 'Painting of Tommy Walker'". South Australian Museum Archives. 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ "AA 103/02 - 'Framed sketch of Tommy Walker'". South Australian Museum Archives. 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Pictures by Herr Fristrom". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 29 August 1894. p. 6. Retrieved 20 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Woman's World". The Brisbane Courier. 23 August 1921. p. 9. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "News". The Brisbane Courier. 30 November 1898. p. 5. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "DEATH OF MR. O. FRISTROM". The Brisbane Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 26 June 1918. p. 2 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved 10 March 2020 – via Trove.
  10. ^ "Family Notices". The Brisbane Courier. 27 June 1918. p. 6. Retrieved 24 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "ART WORK". The Brisbane Courier. Queensland, Australia. 25 September 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 10 March 2020 – via Trove.
  12. ^ "ART EXHIBITION". The Queenslander. Queensland, Australia. 14 October 1905. p. 8. Retrieved 10 March 2020 – via Trove.
  13. ^ "Geographical Society". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 17 February 1906. p. 2. Retrieved 10 March 2020 – via Trove.
  14. ^ "Geographical Society". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 29 June 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 10 March 2020 – via Trove.
  15. ^ "Land Queensland". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 10 March 2020.

Further reading