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 Frann Spencer-Reynolds  (1926 - 2008)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: easel and mural painting, sculpture design

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Laia Starr is primarily known as Frann Spencer-Reynolds

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Post War California artist, Frann Spencer Reynolds was born on March 18, 1926 in Oakland, California, daughter of Jeannette Dyer Spencer and Eldridge Ted Spencer.  Her father was a good friend of Ansel Adams. 

She studied under Margaret Peterson at the University of California, Berkeley receiving her B.A. in 1947 and M.A. in 1950.  From 1946-47 she also studied at the California School of Fine Arts under Clyfford Still (now The San Francisco Art Institute).  Spencer won many awards early in her career, working mainly in abstract oil.

She did much work for her father working with his architectural firm "Spencer and Associates," based then in San Francisco.  Much, not all of her work in Yosemite has unfortunately been destroyed.  There were murals at both the Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Lodge.  There were screens at the Yosemite Lodge,  there were 10 magnificent screens at Camp Curry and in a Yosemite Sentinel News Paper, of February 12, 1954 the screens at the Ahwahnee Hotel are mentioned.  She also designed all the tile floors which marked a checker board pattern a square per aisle, a square per chair designating the placement of upholstered furniture variously grouped around the room at Yosemite lodge.

Frann designed the Sculpture at the top of the tower at Vacation Village in Mission Bay, San Diego.  It was fabricated and could not have been done without Val Agnoli. There is other work too at Mission Bay.

There is a book originally titled A Pageant, then later the title became The Bracebridge Dinner. Text by Ansel Adams and Jeannette Dyer Spencer, Drawings and layout by Frann Spencer-Reynolds

It seemed that she completely disappeared from the art scene by the late 1950's but as her daughter states, she continued painting, drawing and sketching all her life, creating many landscapes of West Marin County in the 1980's, where she lived at the time.  These were signed Valerie Reynolds or Valerie Spencer Reynolds.  Some of her work is signed Valerie R. and there are paintings of hers she left unsigned.  The artwork she created towards the end of her life reflects her spiritual life's journey and is signed Laia Starr or simply Laia.  She died October 12, 2008, in Marin County, California.

Solo Exhibitions: Metart Gallery, 1950; Ansel Adams' Studio, San
Francisco 1953; Area Arts Gallery, San Francisco, 1955.

Selected Group Exhibitions: 68th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
of the San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art,
1949 (Prize); 69th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition of the San
Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art, 1950 (Prize);

Awards: Artists' Council Prize for Painting, San Francisco Art Association

Literature: Susan Landauer, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism; Thomas Albright, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980

David J Carlson, Carlson Gallery, California.
Additional information courtesy of Ariana C. Reynolds, the artist's daughter whose source are the writings of her grandmother Jeanette Dyer Spencer, a resume of her mothers as well as additional research.

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