Loudon New Hampshire Illustrator, Painter, Engraver: Frank French (1850-1933)

Self Portrait of Frank French

Self Portrait of Frank French

Frank French was born 22 May 1850 in Loudon NH, son and 8th child of Hiram & Lydia Walcot (Bachelder) French.  He died about 1930 in the Reeds Ferry section of Merrimack, New Hampshire.

By 1870 he was living in Manchester NH where he served as art director for the Manchester newspaper, “Mirror and Farmer” under John B. Clarke. At that time he held an exhibition of paintings by Boston artists to stimulate art interest in Manchester. This was the first fine art exhibit in the city, and soon after, he helped organize the Manchester Art Association.

About 1880 French left New Hampshire for New York City, where he remained until about 1925 when he resided in Merrimack NH. He painted primarily painted landscapes and was a wood engraver usually of animal themes.  He worked in both oil and watercolor mediums.

He was also a portrait painter who had painted likenesses of several New Hampshire state officials. In 1925 French was originally commissioned to paint the photograph of Abraham Lincoln that stands in the NH State House. French had planned to work with Frank McGlynn, a stage actor and Lincoln impersonator. The commission charged with finding an artist changed its mind, giving the job instead to Alexander R. James of Dublin NH.

In 1913 French produced an oil painting of Cyrus O. Sulloway.   While in New York City, he was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association, the National Academy of Design, and the Salmagundi Club.

Some of the events and places where he exhibited include the Brooklyn Art Association, 1893 Chicago Columbia Exhibition, National Academy of Design, 1904 St. Louis Exposition-World’s Fair, and the Panama Pacific Exhibition of 1915 held in San Francisco.

In 1887 he produced twenty studies of children’s heads with floral embellishments, that were published in the book “Holiday and Art Books,” along with poems by Margaret E. Sangster [Harpers].  In 1893, he was awarded a medal at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and his engraving of Deschamps’ “Beggar Girl” won the gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. Many of his works are part of the Currier Art Gallery’s permanent collection in Manchester.

He regularly created engravings for the Century, a popular quarterly magazine, Scribner’s magazine of NY, and Harpers Magazine.

Janice

**ADDITIONAL READING**

Article & Engravings: A New England Farm

Article & Engravings: “Wood Engravers in Camp“-

-Ask Art: Works of Frank French

-Cleveland Museum of Art, Frank French Collection

Frank French: Edwin Booth, American Tragedian

 

 

 

 

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