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Frank Leonard Allen

 (1884 - 1966)
Frank Leonard Allen was active/lived in Massachusetts, Maine.  Frank Allen is known for nocturne and landscape painting, graphics.

Frank Leonard Allen

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Frank Leonard Allen
Frank Leonard Allen
(American, 1884 – 1966)
Frank Leonard Allen was born in Portland, Maine on 19 November 1884 to Frank Henry Allen, a manager at a local Walter Lowney Co., and Eleanor Stather (nee McKinley). At some point early in Frank’s life, his parents moved to Fitchburg, MA. There, on 26 June 1905, the Fitchburg Sentinel newspaper ran a remarkable article titled "Frank Leonard Allen’s Work / Display of Fine Art by Fitchburg Boy at Normal School." It describes how Allen, then 20 years of age and attending the Normal School of Art in Boston, was discovered by a certain Miss Warner of Warner’s Studio:

“… who knew of his excellent work, felt he was fitted for better things than a trade, and made an arrangement whereby the young man was to have his time, and she and interested friends would guarantee the expense of his art study.”

The article continues: “He has been attending the Normal Art School in Boston for about three years, and is considered one of the best pupils.”

By 1905, Allen was taking on students and teaching classes in “Drawing and Painting, Work in all Mediums” at the Y.M.C.A. Studio, in Fitchburg, MA.

Allen went on to study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston under Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938) and Frank Benson (1862-1951), the Art Students’ League in New York and studied design with Denman Waldo Ross (1853-1935) at Harvard University.

In 1909 Allen went to China to teach at the High Normal College in Peking (now Beijing Normal University). Little documentation on this period is available, but following this stint Allen considered himself an expert in Chinese Art and extensively lectured on the subject for the rest of his life.

In 1912, Allen was back from the Orient and on the faculty of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and the Yonkers School of Design, where he remained until 1930. At some point near this time, Allen met and married Ruth Eriksson, who was also an instructor at Pratt Institute in ceramics. Ruth also remained on the Pratt faculty until 1930 (photo of Frank and Ruth, ca. 1915 above).

In 1921 Allen, together with Henry Bayley Snell (1858-1943), started a summer school at Boothbay Harbor known as Boothbay Studios. The school was highly successful, grew to encompass several buildings, and was in operation until 1942.

In 1930-32, Allen was a resident of Detroit, MI where he appointed the first Supervisor of Art Education at the Cranbrook Foundation to serve as an advisor related to the art work carried on by all of the Cranbrook schools. On 16 June 1932, Allen tendered his resignation from Cranbrook and returned to the East coast.

By 1934, Allen was Head, Department of Design, Massachusetts School of Art, Boston, MA.

Allen retired to Rockport, MA and lived there until his death on October 17, 1966.
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
The Cranbrook Foundation, Detroit, MI
Salmagundi Art Club, New York, NY
Compiled from public records and newspaper articles by:
A. Rex Rivolo, Ph.D.
Director, Roving Sands Gallery, Saint James, NY

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Frank Leonard Allen
A painter and art instructor at Pratt Institute of Art and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Frank Allen was also head of the Design Department at the Massachusetts School of Art. He was also Director of the Boothbay Studios Art School in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

He was born in Portland, Maine and lived in Massachusetts in Needham and Rockport. He studied at the Massachusetts School of Art and the Boston Museum School of art and his teachers included Edmund Tarbell and Henry B. Snell.

His work can be found in the collections of the Cranbrook Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and the Carl Milles Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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About  Frank Leonard Allen

Born:  1884 - Portland, Maine
Died:   1966 - Rockport, Massachusetts
Known for:  nocturne and landscape painting, graphics