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Jane Freilicher dies; Hamptons artist was 90

Artist Jane Freilicher poses in her greenhouse studio

Artist Jane Freilicher poses in her greenhouse studio atop a building in Greenwich Village. Photo Credit: Newsday / Bruce Gilbert

Jane Freilicher, whose luminous still lifes and landscapes of East End Long Island made her one of the leading representational artists of postwar America, died Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 90.

Although she studied with Hans Hofmann, who taught abstraction, and was influenced by Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse, she took inspiration from what she saw around her: window views from her Greenwich Village apartment and the marshlands and potato fields near her longtime second home in the Hamptons.

At a time when Abstract Expressionists ruled the art world, Freilicher rarely strayed from her representational roots, painting with a colorful vibrance and minimal definition of shapes.

Her paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton and the Parrish Art Museum not far from her home in Water Mill. Her works are also in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Freilicher exhibited in the Whitney Biennials of 1955, 1972 and 1995. In 2005 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her its gold medal in painting.

Jane Niederhoffer was born Nov. 29, 1924, in Brooklyn. She married jazz guitarist Jack Freilicher in 1941. The marriage was annulled five years later, but she kept the surname.

Through her husband, Freilicher met Larry Rivers, who played with him in a band. When she and Rivers started dating, Freilicher encouraged him to become a painter. The renowned artist, who also had a Hamptons home, wrote in his memoir: "She has more integrity than anyone I have ever known." He died in 2002.

In 1957 Freilicher married Joe Hazan, a businessman-turned-painter. He died in 2012.

Their daughter, Elizabeth Hazan, who is also an artist, survives them, along with son-in-law Stephen Hicks and three grandchildren.

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