Frank Mason

Frank Mason

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Frank Mason
Frank Mason, an American artistic icon, has been described as the artist who carried the torch of realism through Abstract Expressionism. He was a true renaissance man in his humanistic concern for the figure and an artist with the same aesthetic concerns as a seventeenth-century painter. In his paintings and drawings he brought to bear his remarkable knowledge of traditional art styles – all that he learned from the Old Masters. Mason’s paintings are dynamic, broadly painted, baroque in spirit and form, and art-historical in focus. It is painting and drawing that Rubens, Vermeer, Hals, Velasquez and Rembrandt would have understood. Frank Herbert Mason was born in Cleveland in 1921 and moved with his family at the onset of the Great Depression to New York City, where he became one of the first students to enroll in Mayor LaGuardia’s experimental Music and Art High School. Not long afterwards, he found his calling at the age of 16 at the Art Students League of New York in the classroom of Frank Vincent Dumond – whose students included Georgia O’Keefe, Norman Rockwell and John Marin. Mason rapidly evolved as a traditional artist and became the youngest president at the League. A turning point in Mason’s career was his introduction to the Director of the Louvre Laboratoire, Jacques Maroger. Maroger’s investigations into the lost painting techniques of the 17th and 18th Century Masters would have strong influence on Mason. Together, they sought to uncover one of the real mysteries of art history, the secrets to the Old Master’s mediums and techniques, passed down through a strict guild system, which had died long before the 19th Century. In addition to his renowned paintings and drawings, Frank Mason was one of the most acclaimed American teachers of our time. He was an instructor of Fine Arts at the Art Students League in New York City for fifty-seven years. He is the only American painter to receive a commission for a series of paintings in a church in Venice, Italy (The Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, installed in the Church of San Giovanni de Malta) and the first artist since Caravaggio to be awarded the prestigious Cross of Merit, Prima Classe, by the order of the Knights of Malta. Armed with the knowledge of the 16th and 17th Century Maters techniques from his investigations at the Louvre Laboratoire, Frank Mason was a tireless champion of preserving historical works of art and challenged the cleaning techniques employed by institutions around the world. He campaigned against the destruction of national treasures to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Vatican and the Frick, eventually joining ArtWatch International to help supervise the conservation of masterpieces worldwide. Frank Mason’s portraits, figures, landscapes and religious paintings are collected by important public and private collections worldwide, his work has been commissioned by Prince Giacomo Colonna of Venice, Averell Harriman, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and Bishop John Cardinal Wright of the Vatican. His work can be found in New York’s St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, the National Academy of Art & Design and the Museum of the City of New York. Frank Herbert Mason (1921 – 2009) Frank Mason, an American artistic icon, has been described as the artist who carried the torch of realism through Abstract Expressionism. He was a true Renaissance man in his humanistic concern for the figure and an artist with the same aesthetic concerns as a seventeenth-century painter. In his paintings and drawings Mason brought to bear his remarkable knowledge of traditional art styles – all that he learned from the Old Masters. Mason’s paintings are dynamic, broadly painted and Baroque in spirit and form. It is painting and drawing that Rubens, Vermeer, Hals, Velasquez and Rembrandt would have understood. Frank Herbert Mason was born in Cleveland in 1921 and moved with his family at the onset of the Great Depression to New York City. He was apprenticed to study with the painter Manuel Reyes at the age of 12 and was one of the first students invited to enroll in Mayor LaGuardia’s experimental Music and Art High School. Granted a scholarship at age 16 to the Art Students League of New York, he found his calling and rapidly evolved as a traditional artist in the classroom of Frank Vincent Dumond – whose students included Georgia O’Keefe, Norman Rockwell and John Marin. Throughout his career, Mason sought to uncover one of the enduring mysteries of art history - the lost secrets to the Old Masters mediums and techniques. During the 17th and 18th Centuries, the secret formulae were passed down through a strictly guarded guild system long gone by the 19th Century. Mason’s tireless research helped resurrect methodology lost for 150 years. Armed with the knowledge of the Old Masters, Frank Mason was a tireless champion of preserving historical works of art and challenged the cleaning techniques employed by institutions around the world. He campaigned against the destruction of national treasures at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Vatican and the Frick, eventually co-founding ArtWatch International to help monitor the conservation of masterpieces worldwide. He is the only American painter to receive a commission for a series of paintings in a Venetian church (The Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, installed in the Church of San Giovanni di Malta, Venice, Italy) and the first artist since Caravaggio to be awarded the prestigious Cross of Merit, Prima Classe, by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Frank Mason’s portraits, figures, landscapes and religious paintings are included in important public and private collections worldwide. In addition to receiving international recognition for his paintings and drawings, Frank Mason was one of the most acclaimed American teachers of our time. An Instructor of Fine Arts at the Art Students League in New York City for an astounding fifty-seven years, Mason became one of the League’s most gifted, talented and beloved instructors. His classes overflowed with promising students. Frank Mason died in June and while the art world mourns his passing, Mason’s legacy lives on in his paintings and drawings. New River Fine Art is proud to present the first retrospective exhibitions since his death. The exhibitions and catalog include a wide selection of paintings, drawings and some of Frank’s own words on his favorite subjects. An American Icon is a celebration of Frank Mason’s life and art. For more information, please contact New River Fine Art 914 East Las Olas Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 954-524-2100 www.newriverfineart.com
Artist