Oscar Fristrom Collection

Cultural Care statement (disclaimer)

Users are advised that this Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander material may contain culturally sensitive imagery and descriptions which may not normally be used in certain public or community contexts. Annotation and terminology which reflects the creator's attitude or that of the era in which the item was created may be considered inappropriate today. This material may also contain images, voices or names of deceased persons.

Carl Magnus Oscar Friström (1856 – 26 June 1918), generally known as Oscar Friström, was born on 16 January 1856 in Blekinge, Sweden. He arrived in Brisbane, Australia in 1883. By 1885 Oscar was employed at the Elite Photo Co., owned by D. H. Hutchison, where he was responsible for the colouring and over-painting of photographic portraits, which was much in vogue at the time.

In 1884 Oscar Fristrom exhibited in the fine arts section of the annual Queensland National Association Exhibition, and by the late 1880s he was one of the few professional artists in Brisbane. He was also one of the first artists to create portraits of Aboriginal people, created through the technique of over-painting photographs.

The John Oxley Library is fortunate to hold 16 works by Oscar Fristrom.

Cahthilli Aboriginal man from Cooper Creek or Wilson River painting by Oscar Fristrom from the John Oxley Library artwork collection [Accession:  4475], State Library of Queensland

1902 K’Gari [Frazer Island] Aboriginal Woman painting by Oscar Fristrom, created from a photograph.  Original artwork from the John Oxley Library collection [Accession:  4493], State Library of Queensland

Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom artwork held in the John Oxley Library are: 

  • 4475 [Carl Magnus] Oscar Fristrom Sir Henry Norman Painted Photograph
  • 4477 Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom, Amy Coral Bunce painting 1916
  • 4492 Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom, Aboriginal Man [Work of Art] 1902
  • 4493 Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom, Aboriginal Woman painting 1902
  • 5466 Oscar Fristrom, Catchpenny painting 1915
  • 5812 Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom, Sir Thomas McIlwraith painting 1884
  • 6547 Oscar Fristrom Aborigines, North Queensland [Work of Art] 1899
  • 24139 Oscar Fristrom King Sandy [Work of Art] 1899
  • 27305 Oscar Fristrom, Catchpenny [Work of Art] 1889
  • 27548 Oscar Fristrom Catchpenny or GWAI-A [Work of Art] 1916
  • 28095 George Woolnough [Work of Art] 1914
  • 28559 Sue & Michael Brown Gift of Queensland Works of Art 1852-1973
  • 28900 Oscar Fristrom King Sandy Reproduction [Work of Art] 1899
  • 28931 Portrait of Edward Colclough [Work of Art] 1907
  • 31372 Carl Magnus Oscar Fristrom Seaman's Chest Work of Art 1870s
  • 31427 Oscar Fristrom Portrait of Gindahn Work of Art ca. 1880s
  • 31591 Sarah Queensland Aboriginal

Caption – 1909 Durumboi artwork by Oscar Fristrom from the John Oxley Library artwork collection.  Artwork donated by Sue and Michael Browning [Accession:  28559], State Library of Queensland

Caption – 1889 Catchpenny artwork by Oscar Fristrom from the John Oxley Library artwork collection [Accession:  27548], State Library of Queensland

Aboriginal woman known as Sarah by Oscar Fristrom from the John Oxley Library artwork collection [Accession:  31591], State Library of Queensland

Commitments statement 

This material contains Aboriginal portraits [1880-1920] that has been made available in accordance with State Library of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections Commitments

Further Reading



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