Albert FRANCK [Canadian, 1899- 1973] Don Valley Linocut Print

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Albert Jacques Franck [1899-1973]

Don Valley

3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (8.9 x 11.4 cm)

Linocut with original hand-colour

titled, dated (1949) and estate certification note by Julie Gadatsy, 1949 on verso.

Framed. 10 x 11 inches (25.5 x 28.2 cm)


Albert Jacques Franck [1899-1973] Born in Middleburg, Holland, he was interested in art from an early age but his father discouraged him from becoming an artists and consequently he did not begin to paint until after his arrival in Canada in 1926 following a series of ventures in Indonesia, California, and the winning of a national swimming championship in Belgium. He worked as a swimming instructor at the Central YMCA in Montreal and at Jasper Park and elsewhere. He had musical training as a boy and played the cello. Through his interest in swimming and music he met his artist wife, Florence Vale. During his first year in Canada he began to paint and did street scenes as early as 1928. In the late 1920’s he worked in the fine art department of Simpson’s store in Toronto. With the market crash of 1929 he lost his job. Nine bad years followed but in 1940 he established himself in the picture restoring business and made his living as a painter under the title of “Picture Restorer”. In 1947 he had begun solo shows first at Simpson’s and Easton’s (1947-50); Roberts Gallery, Toronto (1957) (1960); Hart House, Toronto (1958); Galerie Moos (1960) and York University (1963) and elsewhere. His subjects were old houses, usually in Toronto. With his camera he took many pictures, choosing the best for his sketch (slightly different from the actual photograph), from which he then made the larger finished painting (altered again from the sketch). He worked in all painting media. Reviewing his  work in April of 1964, Harold Town wrote, “… His success is based firmly in reality, the reality of his talent. Not long ago though, at the beginning of his recognition for the thing he does best, he embarked on a series of painting of Canada seen from the air. They failed mainly because Franck, a great host, and lover of food, women, dogs, cats, birds, snow, and urban congestion, was unable to  establish an intense relationship with the clouds and the essentially abstract experience of the air. Despite this he returned to his streets with new vigour and greater powers of architectonic organization… Franck is now at the height of his powers, and must rank with the country’s best realists, but as a painter of urban streets it seems to me that he has no peers, past or present…” His shows were usually a sellout and there was a waiting list for his paintings. He is represented  n the following collections: AGO, Toronto; UWO, London, Ont.; University of Guelph; J. Grant Glassco (Trustee, NGC), the late Robertson Davies; and in many other collection in Canada, U.S.A., Great Britain, the Netherlands, Rome, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. He died  in Toronto at the age of 74. Affiliations: CSPWC, OSA, ARCA (1961-70). - MACDONALD, A Dictionary of Canadian Artists Vol 1. Ottawa: 1997

See Artists in Canada: A List of Artists' Files. National Gallery of Canada: 1999.