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 Frances Cranmer Greenman  (1890 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota/California/South Dakota      Known for: portrait, genre, and Indian figure painting

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Frances Cranmer Greenman
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is text from a review, dated July 18, 2007, and referencing the exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, "In Her Own Right: Minnesota's First Generation of Women Artists."

Frances Cranmer Greenman (1890-1981)

Frances Willard Cranmer was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on June 28, 1890, and was named after Frances E. Willard, the founder of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Greenman's mother was president of the South Dakota chapters of the WCTU and the Equal Suffrage Association before the family moved to Minneapolis.

Knowing from an early age that she wanted to be an artist, Greenman began her art training at age 15 at the Wisconsin Academy of Art. Her studies continued with four years at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C., and briefly at the Minneapolis School of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere.

In the early 1900s, Greenman also studied in New York with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. In 1917, she married John Wolcott Greenman, a liberal-minded man who was supportive of her career ambitions.

Greenman was a masterful portrait painter. With simple brushstrokes of color and line, she skillfully captured both the likeness and personality of the sitter.

In evaluating her work, it is helpful to distinguish between those portraits which were commissioned and those which were not. In her non-commissioned work, Greenman allowed for more artistic expression; in portraits of her family and friends, there exists a level of informality and dynamism.

In her 1954 autobiography, Higher than the Sky, Greenman summarized her artistic philosophy.

"They say art is eternal. What's so eternal about art as it is today? ... Styles are changing faster in art than in hats. ... The portrait at present is decidedly declasse. But I believe in portraits ... because the highest thing a man knows -- the thing he likes the best and always will -- is himself. People!"

Greenman died on May 24, 1981, at the age of 92.

Source; MPRnews

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Frances Cranmer Greenman was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on June 28, 1890.  Frances was a pupil of William M. Chase at the Art Students League in New York City. 

By 1920 she was the wife of John W. Greenman.  Most of her early life was spent in Minneapolis where she was art critic for the Tribune.  By 1930 she had returned to New York City where her husband was an investment banker.  

While in Los Angeles in 1934-35, she painted portraits of actresses Mary Pickford and Dolores Del Rio.  Mrs. Greenman died in Long Lake, Minnesota in May 1981. 

Exhibited:  Stendahl Gallery (Los Angeles), 1934; Ebell Club (Los Angeles), 1935; Beverly Hills Women’s Club, 1935.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1936-62.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An art columnist and critic for the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and a teacher at the Minneapolis School of art from 1941 to 1943, Frances Greenman was also a painter of portraits and figure subjects.

She was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota and died in Medina, Minnesota. She studied at the Corcoran School of Art, the Art Student's League, the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and in Paris at the Grande Chaumiere. Influential teachers were William Merritt Chase, Frank DuMond, Robert Henri, and Frank Benson.

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