Prof Freschi was appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture in January 2013. He holds a BA Fine Arts (with distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand, a BA Honours in History of Art from the University of Cape Town, and a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. He began his academic career as a lecturer in History of Design at what was then the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and taught subsequently at the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. He has taken occasional breaks from academia to work briefly as a researcher and consultant in human resources, and more recently as Executive Manager and Senior Curator of the Goodman Gallery, Cape Town.
In his PhD thesis, entitled ‘The Politics of Ornament: Modernity, Identity, and Nationalism in the Decorative Programmes of Selected South African Public and Commercial Buildings, 1930-1940’, Prof Freschi considered the political iconography of South African public buildings in the 1930s in relation to the political tensions between nationalism and imperialism at the time. As an ongoing research project, the scope of this work has subsequently expanded to encompass post-Second World War as well as post-apartheid public architecture and the extent to which the decorative programmes of public buildings are implicated in the construction of imaginaries of national belonging. A secondary line of research has been into the construction of the canon of modern South African art, and more recently how the art market is implicated in this. He has published a number of papers and book chapters on these and other subjects, and is frequently invited to speak on these and other subjects in national and international forums. He holds a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation.
Prof Freschi has active relationships with a number of professional bodies, and serves on various boards. Amongst others, he is the President (ex-officio) of SAVAH (South African Visual Arts Historians, a member of the editorial boards of De Arte and Forum Kunst und Markt, and a member of the Committee on Design of the College Art Association (CAA) in the United States.
In 2016, Prof Freschi was the South African curator (with Patrice Deparpe of the Musée Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France) of the exhibition ‘Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning’, at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg. This was the first exhibition devoted to Matisse on the African continent.
In addition to his academic and administrative responsibilities, Prof Freschi is an accomplished baritone who appears regularly on opera and concert stages throughout South Africa.
Recent Publications (2007-2016):
- Freschi, F. (Ed.). 2016. Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery
- Freschi, F. 2016. Matisse’s Rhythms and Meanings (pp. 13-22). In F. Freschi (ed.) Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2016. Catalogue of Works, with Commentary by Federico Freschi (pp. 23-67; 159-174; 183-205). In F. Freschi (ed.) Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2015. Great Zimbabwe and ‘Africanness’. Architectural Review 237 (1418): 114-117.
- Freschi, F. 2015. Entry on Mikhael Subotzky in the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/public/book/oao_benz
- Freschi, F. 2014. Between Politics and Poetics: Terry Kurgan’s Hotel Yeoville. Safundi 15 (2-3): 411-416.
- Freschi, F. 2013. ‘A cultural icon and a beacon of light in the inner city’: The role of the Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery (FOTAG), Pietermaritzburg, in ensuring the gallery’s success. De Arte 88: 77-88.
- Freschi, F. 2012. The Power of Place: Imagining South African Sacred Spaces (pp. 107-123). In F. Rankin-Smith (ed.) Figuring Faiths: Images of Belief in Africa. Johannesburg: Fourthwall Books.
- Freschi, F. 2012. The Rainmaker: Pragmatism, Myth, and Magic in the Work of Gerard de Leeuw (pp. 8-15). In F. Scott (Ed.) Gerard de Leeuw 1912-1985: A Centenary Exhibition – 100 (pp. 8-15). Johannesburg: Sanlam.
- Freschi, F. 2012. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Cape Town’s Michaelis Collection at the Old Town House. De Arte 86: 67-72.
- Freschi, F. 2011. Other Views: Art History in (South) Africa and the Global South. Diogenes 58(3): 93-101.
- Freschi, F. 2011. Self and Other: Irma Stern’s Portrait of the Cellist Vera Poppé. Art South Africa 10(2): 26-29.
- Freschi, F. 2011. ‘Dancing in Chains’: The Imaginary of Global South Africanism in World Cup Stadium Architecture. African Arts 43(3): 42-55.
- Freschi, F. 2011. A Great Seduction: The UCT Irma Stern Museum, Rosebank, Cape Town. De Arte 84: 92-101.
- Freschi, F. 2011. ‘Unity in Diversity’: The Representation of White Nationalisms in the Decorative Programmes of Public Buildings, 1930-1940 (pp. 156-173). In J. Carman (Ed.) The Visual Century, Vol. 1. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
- Freschi, F. 2011. Afrikaner Nationalism, Modernity and the Changing Canon of ‘High Art’, 1948-1976 (pp. 9-25). In L. van Robbroeck (Ed.) The Visual Century, Vol. 2. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
- Freschi, F. (Ed.). 2011. Alan Crump: A Fearless Vision. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2011. Alan Crump: A Fearless Vision – Curator’s Foreword. In F. Freschi (Ed.) Alan Crump: A Fearless Vision (pp. 9-11). Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. (Ed.). 2011. Water: The [Delicate] Threat of Life. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2010. Autres Regards: L’histoire de l’art en Afrique (du Sud) et dans le sud global. Diogène 231 (juillet-septembre 2010): 91-102.
- Freschi, F and Lowe, N. 2010. Circa on Jellicoe: Blurring the Boundaries between Public and Private. De Arte 82: 76-82.
- Freschi, F. 2010. Vicarious Views: South African Landscapes in the Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection. In J. Charlton (ed.) Signature Pieces: The Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection (pp. 39-51). Cape Town: Bell-Roberts.
- Freschi, F. 2009. The Business of Belonging: Volkskapitalisme, Modernity and the Imaginary of National Belonging in the Decorative Programmes of Selected Commercial Buildings in Cape Town, South Africa, 1930 -1940. South African Historical Journal 61(3): 67-95.
- Freschi, F. 2009. The Wits Art Museum: The Continent’s Foremost Collection of African and Southern African Art. De Arte 80: 63-69.
- Freschi, F. 2009. Book Review: Law-Viljoen, B. (ed.) Art and Justice: The Art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. De Arte 80: 70-73.
- Freschi, F. 2009. A Modernist in Arcadia: Edoardo Villa’s ‘Changing Worlds’ at the Nirox Sculpture Park. In K. Nel (Ed.), Edoardo Villa: Changing Worlds (pp. 17-59). Johannesburg: Everard Read Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2009. Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: History, Myth and Eroticism in the Paintings of Braam Kruger. In F. Scott (Ed.), Braam Kruger 1950-2008 (pp. 5-11). Johannesburg: Standard Bank.
- Freschi, F. 2009. The Fragility of Objecthood: Angus Taylor’s ‘Momentary Permanence’. In Angus Taylor: Momentary Permanence (pp. 4-37). Johannesburg: Ex Libris Press.
- Freschi, F. (Ed.). 2009. Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c. 1896 - 2008. Johannesburg: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2009. Laubscher, Frederik Bester Howard (Erik) 1927 - : ‘Still Life with Mandolin, Music Score and Fruit’ and ‘Still Life with African Bowl’. In F. Freschi (Ed.), Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c. 1896 - 2008 (pp. 42-44). Johannesburg: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2009. Cilliers Barnard, Bettie 1914 - : ‘Young Girl’ and ‘Portrait of an African Woman’. In F. Freschi (Ed.). Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c.1896 – 2008 (pp. 64-66). Johannesburg: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2009. Skotnes, Cecil Edwin Frans 1926 - 2009: ‘Birds’. In F. Freschi (Ed.), Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c. 1896 - 2008 (p. 92). Johannesburg: Graham's Fine Art Gallery.
- Freschi, F. (Ed.). 2009. The Highly Important Auction of the Prestigious Art Collection of the Late Roger Brett Kebble. Johannesburg: Graham’s Gallery
- Freschi, F. (Ed.) 2008. The Modern Palimpsest. Johannesburg: Graham’s Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2008. Walter Battiss: ‘Palimpsest’. In F. Freschi (ed.), The Modern Palimpsest. Johannesburg: Graham’s Gallery.
- Freschi, F. 2007. Postapartheid Publics and the Politics of Ornament: Nationalism, Identity, and the Rhetoric of Community in the Decorative Program of the New Constitutional Court, Johannesburg. Africa Today 4(52): 27-49.
- Freschi, F. 2007. Book review: Madeline, L. and M. Martin, eds. Picasso and Africa (2006). De Arte 74: 65-71.