Mary Frank

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Mary Frank
Mary Lockspeiser

(1933-02-04) 4 February 1933 (age 86)
London, England
Known forPainting, printmaking, sculpture
Robert Frank (m. 1950–1969)
Untitled (Prone Man, Two Trees) by Mary Frank

Mary Frank (née Mary Lockspeiser; born 4 February 1933) is an English visual artist known primarily as a sculptor, painter, printmaker, draftswoman, and illustrator.


Frank was born in London, the only child of Eleanore Lockspeiser (1909–1986), an American painter, and Edward Lockspeiser (1905–1973), English musicologist and art critic.[1] In 1939, at the beginning of Word War II, she left London for a series of boarding schools and then was sent in 1940 to live with her maternal grandparents, Gregory and Eugenie Weinstein in Brooklyn, New York.[2][3]She studied modern dance with Martha Graham from 1945 to 1950 and was admitted to the High School of Music & Art in New York in 1947. In 1949 she transferred to the Professional Children's School, where she majored in dance. While in high school, she met Robert Frank, a Swiss photographer, whom she married in 1950. About this time she studied wood carving at Alfred van Loen's studio. She also studied drawing with Max Beckmann at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York and briefly with Hans Hofmann in 1951 and 1954 at Hofmann's Eighth Street School.

By this time she had two children: Pablo (named after Picasso), born February 7, 1951, and Andrea, born April 21, 1953. After her husband, Robert Frank, gained a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1955 she travelled with him and the children the following two years across the United States.[4]

Frank first exhibited her drawings in 1958 at the Poindexter Gallery in New York City. In 1969 Frank began her relationship with the Zabriskie Gallery in New York. Inspired by the sculpture and pottery of Margaret Ponce Israel, she began working in clay. It was also in that year that Frank illustrated the children's book, Buddha, by the author Joan Lebols Cohen.[5] In 1969 she also divorced Robert Frank. She purchased a summer home in Lake Hill, New York in 1973, and built her first kiln. Frank has been advocate of the solar cooking and solar water pasteurization movement.

On December 28, 1974, her 21-year-old daughter, Andrea, was killed in a plane crash in Guatemala.[6] About a year later her son Pablo, who suffered from schizophrenia, also developed Hodgkin's lymphoma and died on November 11, 1994, in Pennsylvania. Frank currently lives and works in Lake Hill and New York City. Since 1995, she has been married to Leo Treitler, a pianist and music scholar.[7]

Mary Frank's career spans five decades. She is largely self-taught and never had any formal training as a sculptor. She was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1984, the recipient of numerous awards and honors including two Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship Awards in 1973 and 1983, the Lee Krasner Award of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1993 and the Joan Mitchell Grant Award in 1995. In 1990 she was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1994. Working as a professor at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, Frank was honored with the title of Milton Avery Chair, Distinguished Professor.[8]

Currently she has works included in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art[9][10], the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Art at Yale University and the Jewish Museum.

She has also produced many paintings and works in various other media, especially printmaking. Her works are in New York's Whitney Museum, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and many others.

DC Moore Gallery represents Frank. The gallery first exhibited her works in January 2008.[11] Frank is also represented by Elena Zang Gallery in Hurley (Woodstock) New York.


  • Persephone (Ceramic sculpture, 1989)[12]
  • Messenger (Cast bronze sculpture, 1991-92)[12]
  • What Color Lament? (Oil and collage on board, 1991-93)[12]
  • Knowing by Heart (closed) (Acrylic, oil, and collage on panel, 1997)[12]
  • Knowing by Heart (open) (Acrylic, oil, and collage on panel, 1997)[12]
  • This is the Remembering (closed) (Oil and acrylic on panel, 1996-97)[12]
  • This is the Remembering (open) (Oil and acrylic on panel, 1996-97)[12]
  • Migration (closed) (Acrylic, oil, and collage on panel, 1998-99)[12]
  • Migration (open) (Acrylic, oil, and collage on panel, 1998-99)[12]
  • Where or When? (closed) (Acrylic, oil and collage on panel, 1998-99)[12]
  • Where or When? (open) (Acrylic, oil and collage on panel, 1998-99)[12]
  • Ballad (closed) (Acrylic, oil and collage on panel, 1997-99)[12]
  • Ballad (open) (Acrylic, oil and collage on panel, 1997-99)[12]
  • Creature (Oil on panel, 1999)[12]


  • Rosen, Randy, and Catherine C. Brawer. Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-85. New York: Abbeville Press, 1988.
  • Mary Frank: Recent Paintings and Pastels, 1996 (exhibition catalogue), DC Moore Gallery, 1996
  • Mary Frank: Recent Paintings and Pastels,[permanent dead link] 1998 (exhibition catalogue), DC Moore Gallery, 1998
  • D'Souza, Aruna (March 2001). "Mary Frank and the Search for Self". Art in America. 89: 114–121.
  • Mary Frank: Experiences, 2003 (exhibition catalogue), DC Moore Gallery, 2003
  • Mary Frank: Paintings and Works on Paper, 2006 (exhibition catalogue), DC Moore Gallery, 2006
  • Nochlin, Linda, and Maura Reilly. Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, 2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meeker, Carlene (1 March 2009). "Mary Frank". Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  2. ^ Frank, Mary. "Oral History Interview with Mary Frank, 2010 Jan 10 - Feb 3". Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  3. ^ Frank, Mary; Sawin, Martica (2003). Mary Frank, Experiences. Richmond, Virginia: University of Richmond Museums. ISBN 0971375356.
  4. ^ "Mary Frank | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  5. ^ Nochlin, Linda; Collischan, Judy (2000). Mary Frank: Encounters. N.Y.: Neuberger Museum. ISBN 0810967235.
  6. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (23 October 2004). "The big empty". Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  7. ^ Meeker, Carlene (1 March 2009). "MARY FRANK". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  8. ^ Heller, Jules; Heller, Nancy (1995). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland.
  9. ^ "Running Man, Mary Frank ^ Minneapolis Institute of Art". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  10. ^ "Persephone, from 'Persephone' series, Mary Frank ^ Minneapolis Institute of Art". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  11. ^ "DC Moore Gallery, artist page". Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Linda,, Nochlin,. Women artists : the Linda Nochlin reader. Reilly, Maura,. New York, New York. ISBN 9780500239292. OCLC 892891670.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)


External links[edit]