Gilbert Franklin: Dimensions

TOREROS front-cropped

Toreador, undated polychromed and gessoed wood 30 x 10 x 5 3/4″

ACME Fine Art’s premier show of the Fall 2015 gallery season will be an exhibition of painting, works on paper, and sculpture by noted twentieth-century artist and teacher Gilbert Franklin. The exhibition is titled GILBERT FRANKLIN: DIMENSIONS, and it will feature important works—two and three dimensional pieces—from all phases of the artist’s six decade long career. The exhibition will open on Friday 18 September and run through Saturday 31 October 2015. A reception from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday 2 October will be held in conjunction with SoWa First Friday festivities.

Gilbert Franklin is one of the most significant and influential sculptors of American modernism in the twentieth-century. His prolific and impressive career 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 National Portrait Gallery 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.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition GILBERT FRANKLIN: DIMENSIONS will be on view in the galleries at 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston and on the gallery website from 18 September to 31 October 2015. Exhibition catalogues will be available through the gallery or at blurb.com. Please contact the gallery (www.acmefineart.com) with inquiries about the exhibition or the artist.