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 Frank Nelson Ashley  (1920 - 2007)

About: Frank Nelson Ashley
 

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Lived/Active: California/New York/Nebraska      Known for: sporting and music-crowd genre, race horses

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Frank N Ashley
from Auction House Records.
The Jazz Musicians
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Noted for his equestrian and jazz subjects, Frank Ashley was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on March, 17, 1920.  He grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and studied at the University of Minnesota.
 
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps, and while stationed in London, England, attended St. Martins School of Art.  In 1945 he was discharged with the rank of captain.  Upon his return to the United States, Ashley continued his studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois, and then at the Minneapolis Art Institute until 1947.  He then moved to New York City where he studied with Reginald Marsh at the Art Students’ League of New York, also acting as Marsh’s assistant.

In 1955 he married Betty Brader, a painter and illustrator; it was his third marriage.

Beginning in 1960, Ashley portrayed equine subjects with increasing frequency, including in his paintings many of the great racecourses of England and France.  From the middle 1970s to the early 1980s, he lived in Middleburg, Virginia, with his wife.  There he painted local foxhunting, racing, and steeple chasing events.  By the middle 1980s they moved to Carmel, California, where he was a member of the Carmel Art Association.  In Carmel he changed his focus to subjects of jazz musicians and popular culture.  During the 1990s his subjects were often civil rights and environmental topics.
 
Ashley’s work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the National Academy of Design in New York City, the Santa Barbara (California) Museum, and several prominent galleries in the United States and England.
 
He won first prize at the American Veterans’ Show in New York in 1953, the grand prize at the first Art USA show in New York in 1958, and the Alma Spreckels Award in 1964.  In 1957 he produced a large portrait for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo.
 
Institutions holding his work include Syracuse (New York) University, the Oak Lawn Racetrack in Arkansas, the California Jockey Club, and San Francisco (California) State University.

Ashley was living in Monterey, California, as of 2006; he died December 16, 2007.
 
 
Source: F. Turner Reuter, author of A History of Animal and Sporting Art in America: 1750 -1950.
 


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Settling in Carmel, California in 1968 and living on the Monterey Peninsula, Frank Nelson Ashley was a genre painter of stylized works that convey motion and rhythm and often feature scenes with musicians or race horses. 

He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and from 1938 to 1941, studied at the University of Minnesota.  From 1945 to 1946, he was in Chicago as a student at the American Academy of Art; from 1947 to 1948, was back in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Art Institute, and then spent two years, 1948 to 1950, at the Art Students League in New York City as a student of Reginald Marsh.

He has exhibited paintings in New York City at Art USA, Madison Square Garden's Grand Prix, and the Legion of Honor Invitational in San Francisco.  Ashley has been a member since 1970 of the Carmel Art Association.

He passed on December 16, 2007.

Sources include:
Peter Hastings Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Gary Stanley, ArtSanDiego

Biography from Zantman Art Galleries:
Born in Nebraska in 1920, Frank Ashley was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, and later attended the University of Minnesota.  Enlisting in the Army Air Corps, he was stationed in England as B-17 pilot; he was discharged after four years as a Captain, with multiple decorations, including The Purple Heart.

After his military career, he studied at the Minneapolis Art Institute and later at the American Academy in Chicago.  Mr. Ashley completed his education at The Art Students’ League in New York City, where he worked with Reginald Marsh.

During his stay in New York, Frank Ashley frequented the Metrapole Club where he met many later “jazz greats”. This early experience and his subsequent friendships with Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck in San Francisco provided him with one of his major artistic themes: the world of the jazz artist.

No less important, however, is his artistic expertise in the arena of the competitive equestrian events. He visited the majority of the renowned tracks around the world, which resulted in equestrian paintings being signature work. He has exhibited his paintings at many of the major race tracks in the United States.

Frank Ashley was the grand prize from the 1957 New York Art Show, Art USA, as well as other prestigious honors.

He died in California on December 16, 2007.

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