Gilbert Franklin

GILBERT FRANKLIN
(1919-2004)

Gil Franklin portrait

EDUCATION

1948-49      American Academy in Rome, Italy
1941-46      B.F.A. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1942            Museo Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico
1938            Hawthorne School of Art, Provincetown, MA

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Miami University, Oxford, OH
Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC
RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI
Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, Boston, MA
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
Hopkins Center for the Arts – Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Providence Art Club, Providence, RI
Provincetown Arts Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
National Academy Museum, New York, NY
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Hood Museum of Art – Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

SELECTED SOLO & GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014-15       ACME Fine Art, Boston, MA
2012            Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA
2010            Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
2009            Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA
2005            Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA
2004            Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH
1991-94      Long Point Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1958            Boston Fine Arts Festival, Boston, MA
1950            Whitney Annual, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1941            Providence Art Club, Providence, RI

SELECTED PUBLIC INSTALLATIONS & COMMISSIONS

2004            Polytropus, Rev. Dom Peter Sidler Memorial, Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, RI
1993            Seaforms, marble, Wellfleet Public Library, Wellfleet, MA
1991            Two bas-reliefs, U.S. Navy War Memorial, Washington, DC
1988            St. Gregory, Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, RI
1988            Conversation, Gannett Building, Arlington, VA
1981            Bather (Diana), Fountain, Hallmark Collection, Kansas City, MO
1976            Harry S. Truman, Memorial, Independence, MO
1973            Veritas Eternaliter Juvenis, Providence College, Providence, RI
1968            Daybreak, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1963            Orpheus Ascending, Fountain, Frazier Memorial, Providence, RI
1958            Abraham Lincoln, Harvey Trust, Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI
Rhode Island Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Providence, RI
The Rhode Island Council Medal, Providence, RI
The Truman Award, Washington, D.C.

AWARDS

2003            The Ella Jackson Chair, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill
1991            Elected Member of the National Academy
1975            Providence Art Club Medal for Excellence in the Arts, Providence, RI
1975            Artist-in-Residence, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
1965-66      Artist-in-Residence, American Academy in Rome, Italy
1962-63      Artist-in-Residence, American Academy in Rome, Italy
1958            Grand Prize Boston Fine Arts Festival, Boston, MA
1948-49      Prix de Rome in Sculpture, Fellow, American Academy in Rome, Italy
1942            Museo Nacional, Traveling Fellowship, Mexico City, Mexico
1941            Alumni Fellowship, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

TEACHING

1984            Helen M. Danforth Chair of Fine Arts, RISD, Providence, RI
1975-84      Dean, Division of Fine Arts, RISD, Providence, RI
1960-84      Co-founder and Director of European Honors Program, Rome, Italy
1942-84      Professor, RISD, Providence, RI
1975-76      University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1960-75      Chair, Division of Fine Arts, RISD, Providence, RI
1953-60      Head of the Sculpture Department, RISD, Providence, RI
1952-53      Yale University, New Haven, CT
1950-51      Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1946            San Jose State College, San Jose, California

PROFESSIONAL & ACADEMIC BOARDS

ca. 1988-03   Trustee and Chairman, Visual Arts Committee of the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA
1980               Appointed to the Board of Overseers, Department of Fine Arts, Boston University, Boston, MA
1975-80         Trustee, American Academy in Rome, Italy
1973-79         Chair, Selection Committee in Sculpture, American Academy in Rome, Italy
1976               Appointed to the Board of Overseers, University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

BIOGRAPHY

Gilbert Franklin is one of the most significant and influential sculptors of American modernism in the Twentieth-Century. His prolific and impressive career spanned over six decades and included numerous public commissions, group and one-man exhibitions, and teaching positions throughout New England, the Midwest, and abroad.

Franklin was born in Birmingham, England and grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts. In 1938 he studied painting with John Frazier at the Hawthorne School in Provincetown, Massachusetts. By 1941, he received his B.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design where he taught from 1942-1984. It was during this period at RISD that he served as Head of the Sculpture Department (1953-60), Chair of the Division of Fine Arts (1960-75), and Dean (1975-84). He was the co-founder of RISD’s European Honors Program and served as Director of that illustrious program for several years. He also served as a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, among other institutions. Additionally, Franklin served on several professional and academic boards. He was a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, and served on the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts and the School of Fine Arts at Boston University. In 1984 he was named Helen M. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts at RISD.

As a sculptor, Franklin worked in granite, marble, wood, and bronze. He was a master of bronze casting and his sculptures ranged from the figurative to the non-representational. As a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, Franklin connected to the classical traditions of Roman and Greek sculpture; however, the majority of his sculptures tended to convey a modernist aesthetic in their rough surfaces, boldly sliced interacting forms, and sharp edges.

Franklin was the recipient of numerous awards—namely, the Prix de Rome in Sculpture, the Grand Prize at Boston’s Fine Arts Festival, and the Providence Art Club Medal for Excellence in the Arts. He was also an elected member of the National Academy, a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, and The Ella Jackson Chair at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Additionally, he received many public commissions including: the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the Harry S. Truman Memorial in Independence, MO; pieces for the Hallmark Collection in Kansas City, MO; for the Gannett Building, Washington, D.C.; and the Orpheus Ascending Fountain at the Frazier Memorial in Providence, RI, as well as outdoor sculpture, Seaforms, at the Wellfleet Public Library. His final commission was a fourteen foot sculpture in Memory of Rev. Dom Peter Sidler at the Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, RI.

Franklin’s work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, The National Academy Museum in New York, and The Corcoran Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as well as many others. His work has been shown widely both in the U.S. and abroad including, the Whitney Museum of American Art and a major one-man exhibition at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH in 2004. The most recent museum exhibition of Franklin’s sculpture was held at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in 2010.