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 Frank Crawford (Francis) Penfold  (1849 - 1921)



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Lived/Active: New York / France      Known for: marine, genre, landscape and portrait painting, teaching

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Frank C. Pinfold is primarily known as Frank Crawford (Francis) Penfold

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Frank Crawford Penfold artist, teacher, lecturer, known for marine/seascape, genre, landscape, and portrait paintings, especially of the Brittany region of France. Penfold came from a family of artists, (the son of the portrait painter William Penfold (English born-American, 1827-1875), who was active in Lockport and Buffalo, New York.  His mother was also an accomplished artist as were his two brothers Charles C. (1856- ) who designed engraved and manufactured fine jewelry in Buffalo, NY, beginning in 1872 and William who became a fresco artist in Erie, PA.  He also had three sisters Ida, Lillie and Marie.

Frank’s father originally wanted him to become an engraver, but one day at school Frank drew a sketch of the old schoolhouse in Lockport, NY in the back of an atlas. The principal at the time, Mr. Porter was charmed with the sketch and asked Frank to paint it on canvas. Frank and his younger brother used to clean up their father’s studio every evening, washing brushes and palettes, and unknown to his father, saved enough paint from his father’s palette to finish the piece. Mr. Porter was pleased with the painting and had it framed and exhibited. From that time forward Frank trained with his father in portraiture and other painting styles.

Frank had moderate success while living in Buffalo but decided to further his studies abroad.  Around 1877, he traveled to France and later settled in Pont Aven, Brittany where he also taught in the artists’ colony.  He studied in Finistère, Brittany, France, and also trained at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1884.  He occasionally returned to Buffalo, NY and in 1891, taught a class at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery.  He remained an influential figure in the Buffalo art scene and also helped organize the Municipal Art League in Chicago, IL in 1901.  He was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists and served as President in 1896, Buffalo, NY. Frank alternated between two homes, one in Pont Aven, France and another at 32 Johnson Park, Buffalo, NY.

Artist Statement :“Many of my friends at home wonder why I paint what they choose to call “sad” subjects, instead of something brighter and more cheerful. I can only say that I prefer to study pathetic sentiment because I know of no other mood which affords so fine an opportunity to depict character-phases of character most difficult to portray, expressions that shows not merely in the face, but in the hands, in the whole attitude. It is impossible to find this in a model-it must be felt.”[1] -Frank C. Penfold

Chronology :
1849- Born, to portrait painter William Penfold (Born Sussex, England-American, 1827-1875) Maria C. (née Chapman), had two brothers Charles C. (b.1856-), and William who were accomplished artists, and three sisters Ida, Lillie and Marie, Lockport, NY.

1875- April, exhibited, First Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists, two paintings shown “Summer Rambles” and “The Kitchen Door”, Fine Arts Gallery, Buffalo, NY. October, exhibited, group show, Mutter & Hoddick Art Gallery, for the painting “Autumn on the Susquehanna”, Buffalo, NY. Frank’s father William Penfold died.

circa 1877- Frank left to further his studies abroad, settling in Pont Aven, Brittany, France, and taught in the art colony there.

1879- Returned to Buffalo, NY for a short stay.

1880- March 10, eight of Penfold’s paintings of Pont Aven, France were auctioned off by Irish & English Auctioneers, New White Building, Main Street, Buffalo, NY. Returned to France. March 20, Exhibited, group show, the Gallery of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, for the painting “Fisherman’s Daughter”, Buffalo, NY.

1881- December 21, thirty-seven paintings of Pont Aven, France were auctioned off by Irish & English Auctioneers, New White Building, Room 1 and 2 on the second floor, Main Street, Buffalo, NY.

1882- Continued his art studies, Brittany, France. Exhibited, group show, Paris Salon, the painting “Death of the First Born” which was hung in first row “on the line” promptly purchased by the French Government. It was reproduced and received enthusiastically in the journals of Paris, Lyons and other foreign papers, Paris, France. Exhibited, group show, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, Brooklyn Art Association, Brooklyn, NY. Exhibited, group show, National Academy of Design, NYC.

1883- Exhibited, Paris Salon, Paris, France. Exhibited, unknown location, 15 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo, NY.

1884- Studied in Finistère, Brittany, France, and also at the Académie Julian, Paris. March, Exhibited, group show, The Temperance Citizens League, two paintings shown “At the Fountain” and “An Invited Guest”, the Hodge Opera House, Lockport, NY. circa June, returned to Buffalo, NY, and also exhibited, group show, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, painting “Autumn” shown, Buffalo, NY. Circa summer, traveled to Belgium for the study of foliage and nature. Circa fall, returned to France and exhibited Paris Salon, paintings “The First Trousers” and “Found Drowned”, Paris, France.

1885- Exhibited, Paris Salon, the painting “La Veuve” (The Widow), which hung on “the line” again, but was withdrawn after a few days to be exhibited in the United States, in New York, Chicago, and other American cities including Buffalo, NY. Fall/Winter, taught art classes at Mrs. E.B. Seymour’s Art School (former secretary and treasurer of the Decorative Art Society), Buffalo, NY, which opened in September of that year. Exhibited, group show, for a sketch of the Chautauqua County Creek, Benson’s Art Rooms, 16 East Swan Street, Buffalo, NY.

1886- May 8, returned to France. Summer, spent time in Étaples, Pas de Calais, France.

circa 1886- Winter, returned to Pont Aven, France. Also visited the Picardy region of France and traveled to Algeria.

1887- Returned to Buffalo, and taught classes at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo, NY. Later returned to France.

1889- Exhibited, Paris Salon, two paintings shown “Triste Nouvelle” (Sad News) which hung on “the line” and “La Songeuse” (The Dreamer), (Prize, Honorable Mention), Paris France. October, Returned to Buffalo, NY. December, organized, solo show, over thirty paintings from France, Algiers and Italy which included “Lion in Repose” a portrait painted from life of the animal presented by the artist Rosa Bonheur to the Jardin des l’lantes Museum in Paris, “”The Dreamer” (from a previous Paris Salon), “In the Glow” (Bay of Naples), 641 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.

1890- January, returned to France. Exhibited, Paris Salon, the painting “Bon Soir-Good Night”, which hung on “the line” again, and also for the painting “The Gleaners” a large painting of a scene in Picardy (5’ x 7’), Paris, France.

1891- Exhibited, Paris Salon, the painting “Letter from Jacques”, in Room 32, Paris, France. Taught first class in composition at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy during an extended visit, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1893- Exhibited, Columbian Exhibition/World's Fair, Chicago, IL. Exhibited, Paris Salon, Paris, France. Daughter Jane Green Penfold was born, who also became an artist and a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, and later taught a costume design class at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts. August, returned from France.

1894- Buffalo Society of Artists held an auction of paintings to benefit of the Art Students League. A meager response was reflected in two paintings sold, an Algerian and a French scene for $20 each, Library Building of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.

1896- April, Elected as President of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, Buffalo Society of Artists, four paintings “Summer Evening”, “Adoration”, “Autumn” and “Returning from Market”, Buffalo, NY. April 20, returned to Europe.

1897- Circa November, Frank and his wife were married (unknown name), Buffalo, NY.

1899- Exhibited, group show, Paris Salon, Paris, France.

1901- Exhibited, Pan American Exposition (Prize, Honorable Mention), two paintings shown “Mal Du Pays” (Homesickness) and “Song of the Lark”, Gallery C, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, annual show, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Helped organize the Municipal Art League, Chicago, IL.

1902- Exhibited, group show, Buffalo Society of Artists, painting “Five O’clock Tea in the Studio” which contained the portraits of several famous Buffalonians including Burr H. Nichols, Mrs. Penfold, Mrs. George Howard Bush, Miss Emily Gray, Mrs. Edwin Fleming, and Mr. George Hibbard, Buffalo, NY.

1904- Exhibited, group show, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis World's Fair, St. Louis, MO.

1907- March, exhibited, solo show, Albright Art Gallery, sold eight paintings, Buffalo, NY. April 11-21, Exhibited remaining paintings from solo show at the Albright Art Gallery, rented space at 146 Main Street, in Buffalo, NY. May, returned to Pont Aven, Brittany, France.

1915- Exhibited, solo show, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1916- February 17, on his way back to France from New York, Penfold’s French steamship “Chicago” was attempted to be captured or destroyed by a German war vessel. The German raider, disguised as a merchant ship with lights appeared three miles off their bow and ordered the “Chicago” to stop. Instead of complying, Captain Mace ordered full steam ahead to 17 knots, outdistancing the German ship within a half hour. April 28, two Penfold paintings were sold to benefit a hospital in Brittany, France, held at the home of Dexter P. Rumsey with a concert under the direction of Mrs. Penfold, 742 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY.

1921- Exhibited, February, group show, Buffalo Society of Artists, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. May 2nd, Penfold’s wife died at the age of 71. Distraught over his wife’s death, Penfold committed suicide by drowning in nearby Concarneau, Brittany, France.

1922- Memorial exhibit of watercolors, Twenty-eighth Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Awards: Honorable Mention from the French Government, Paris, France; Paris Salon (Prize, Honorable Mention 1889), Paris, France; Pan American Exposition (Prize, Honorable Mention), Buffalo, NY; Fellowship Prize (unknown year), Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.

Associations : Brooklyn Art Association, Brooklyn, NY.

Memberships: Buffalo Society of Artists (President 1896), Buffalo, NY.

Museums: Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE.

Publications: The Buffalo Daily Courier, “The Art Reception: First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Arts at the Fine Arts Gallery-A List of the Specimens Entered-A Successful Affair in Prospect”, Tuesday Morning, April 20, 1875; The Buffalo Daily Courier, “Art Matters”, Thursday Morning, October 28, 1875; The Evening Republic, “Art Sale This Evening”, Wednesday Evening, March 10, 1880; The Buffalo Courier, “Fine Arts Academy.: Reopening of the Gallery this Evening-The New Pictures, Etc.”, Saturday Morning, March 20, 1880; The Buffalo Courier, “Auctions: Henry English Auctioneer, By Irish & English; Frank Penfold’s Paintings”, Monday Morning, December 19, 1881; The Buffalo Express, “The Penfold Paintings.”, Tuesday Morning, December 20, 1881; The Buffalo Express, “New Pictures: The Annual Opening of the Fine Arts Academy—The Paintings Contributed for the Occasion.”, Saturday Morning, June 3, 1882; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “Mr. F.C. Penfold’s Exhibition of Paintings, 15 West Chippewa St.”, unknown month and day, page 13, 1883; The Buffalo Express, “Lockport: The Temperance Citizens League in the Lock City-Up in Art-The Loan Exhibition”, Monday Morning, March 31, page 7, 1884; The Evening Courier and Republic, “A Buffalo Artist.”, Saturday Evening, April 12, 1884; The Buffalo Express, “Personal.” section, Saturday Morning, May 3, 1884; The Buffalo Courier, “Among the Pictures: The Exhibition at the Gallery of the Fine Arts Academy-Some of the Gems of the Collection”, Thursday Morning, June 5, 1884; The Buffalo Express, “Personal” section, Tuesday Morning, June 10, 1884; Niagara Falls Gazette, “Personals.” Section, Wednesday, June 18, 1884; The Buffalo Express, “An Artist in His Own Country”, August 10, 1884; The Buffalo Express, “A New School of Art: The First Outgrowth of the Decorative Arts Society-Mrs. Seymour’s School and its Teachers”, Sunday Morning, September 27, 1885; The Buffalo Express, “Points for Picture-Lovers”, Unknown month and day, 1885; Niagara Falls Gazette, “Frank C. Penfold. Buffalo’s Noted Artist”, prior clipping from Buffalo Sunday Express, in reference to Frank C. Penfold the noted artist, pg. 4, 1886-89; The New York Times, “Off for Europe.: “The Mikado” Company And A Host Of Other People Sail Yesterday.”, May 9, 1886; The Buffalo Express, “A Buffalo Artist Abroad: Mr. Frank C. Penfold Describes His Surroundings With Enthusiasm”, from a private letter May 26, 1886, unknown publication month and day, 1886; Buffalo Courier Express, “Frank C. Penfold”, February 27, 1887; The Buffalo Express, “On the Line.: Frank Penfold’s Picture, “Triste Nouvelle,” Gets a Place of Honor.”, Monday Morning, May 15, 1889; The Buffalo Express, “Personal section”, Monday Morning, September 30, page 5, 1889; The Buffalo Express, “Home and Society: Personals”, Sunday Morning, October 27, page 16, 1889; The Buffalo Express, “Notes: Frank Penfold’s Paintings.”, Thursday Morning, December 5, 1889; The Buffalo Express, “Frank Penfold’s Latest”, Sunday Morning, May 18, page 8, 1890; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “Whoever is at all familiar with the work of Frank C. Penfold…”, Sunday Morning, January 25, page 12, 1891; The New York Times, “Art at the Salon’s Show: Arrangements made for the comfort of visitors; familiar names and the works the artists send—names not familiar—hints as to the honors of the year’s exhibition.”, Wednesday, May 26, 1891; The Art Gallery Illustrated: World's Columbian Exposition, Charles Kurtz (Editor), 1893; The Buffalo Express, “Return of Mr. Penfold: Local Art Gossip”, Saturday Morning, August 5, 1893; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “Paintings Sold Cheap: There Were Not Many Bidders at the Auction Sale Night, and Pictures Were Sold for Paltry Sums”, unknown month and day, page 20, 1894; The Buffalo Express, “Society of Artists: Two Tickets Are In The Field For The Election Which Will Be Held On Thursday”, Tuesday, March 31, 1896; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “About People”, Sunday April 5, page 22, 1896; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “A Voice from Without”, Sunday, March 29, page 11, 1896; The Buffalo Express, “Of A Social Nature: Life and Movement”, Thursday Morning, December 2, 1897; Catalogue of the Exhibition of Fine Arts: Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901, published by David Gray, Buffalo, NY, page 6, 1901; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “Buffalo Artists All.: Our Local Painters and Sculptors bring their Work together and it is Good.”, page 4, with picture of the painting “Five O’Clock Tea in the Studio”, (unknown month and day), 1902; The Buffalo Express, “Fellowship Prize Awarded”, Friday, Morning, May 8, 1903; Saint Louis, Louisiana PurchaseExposition, 1904, Catalogue, Universal Exposition Editor, 1904; Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York, biographical information for, “William Penfold”, Library of the University of Michigan, Volume II, Biographical and Genealogical Illustrated, pages 245-247, New York, Buffalo, the Genealogical Publishing Company, The Winthrop Press, NY, 1906-08; The Buffalo Express, “Talk of the Studios” section, Monday Morning, November 11, 1907; The Buffalo Express, “Gallery and Studio Chat: Exhibition of Penfold Pictures”, Monday Morning, March 4, 1907; The Buffalo Express, “Gallery and Studio Chat: The Penfold Pictures”, Monday Morning, April 8, 1907; Biographical Sketches of American Artists, Helen R. Earle, Michigan State Library, 1912; The Evening Telegram-New York, “The Chicago is Chased By Raider: French Line Steamship Ignores Signal to Stop and Soon Leaves Cruiser Behind; Hostile Craft Three Miles Away When Sighted”, Monday, February 21, 1916, pg. 8; The Buffalo Express, “In Pleasant Anticipation”, Sunday April 9, 1916; American Art Directory, Florence N. Levy (Editor), Volume 14, By The American Federation of Arts, Washington, DC, 1917 (Copyright 1918); Who's Who in American Art, 1919 American Art Annual, Editors, 1919; Buffalo Courier Express, “Shock of Wife’s Death fatal to Buffalo Artist”, May 16, 1921; The Buffalo Express, “”Artists Seen With Works at Gallery on Saturday Night: Public invited from 6 until 10 o’clock for Society of Artists’ show”, Thursday Morning, February 24, 1921; Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, Volume XXVI, “Proceedings of the Society 383”, The Tribune Publishing Company, Printers and Binders, Meadville, PA, 1922; The Buffalo Express, “Art School Prizes For Costume Design Class”, Thursday Morning, June 13, 1922; The Illustrated Buffalo Express, “Strolling on the Avenue: All the members of the Society of Artists are happy just now.”, Sunday, November 26, 1922; Academy Notes, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Semi-annual, Volume(s) 17 No. 1, January-June, pages 3, (1922), and Volume 18 No. 1, January-June, page 39, (1923); The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “William H. Harkness to Wed Miss Jane Green Penfold Next Week in Buffalo”, Society Section, Tuesday June 19, 1928, pg. 9; Index of Artists: International-Biographical, Daniel Trowbridge Mallet, Two Volumes: Includes 1940 Index, 1935; Tonalism: An American Interpretation of Landscape, Mildred Cohen, 1970; Exhibition Record 1861-1900, National Academy of Design, Maria Naylor, Two Volume Set, 1973; American Painters Of the Impressionist Period Rediscovered, Nicholas Fox Weber, 1975; Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn, Hollister Sturgis, 1981; Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947, Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), 1985; Mantle Fielding's Dictionary: American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Glenn B. Opitz (Editor), 1986; The Wayward Muse: A Historical Survey of Painting in Buffalo, Susan Krane, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1987; Winter Exhibition: American 19th & 20th Century Paintings, Schwarz-Philadelphia, 1987; Dictionary of Signatures & Monograms, Peter Hastings Falk, 1988; Annual Exhibition Record, 1876-1913, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Peter Hastings Falk, 1989; Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting 1710-1920, William H. Gerdts, Volume One, New England, New York, Mid-Atlantic, Abbeville Press, Publishers, New York, NY, 1990; American Art at the Nineteenth Century Paris Salons, Lois Marie Fink, 1990; Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair, Carolyn K. Carr, 1993; American Art Review, magazine article, “American Painters in Brittany”, Lauren Cobb, October, 1995; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), 3 Volumes, 1999; Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition, Ray Davenport, 2005; The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier (Editor), Inc., 2005.

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 05/2010, Sources: Too long to list, and furnished upon request or can be viewed on our website

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Expatriate painter, Frank Penfold was the son of William Penfold, a portrait painter in Lockport and Buffalo, New York.  Frank trained with his father in portraiture and later at the Academie Julian in Paris (1884).

Frank Penfold was in France by 1879 and later had a home in Pont Aven, Brittany. He occasionally returned to Buffalo and in 1891, taught a class at the School of Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.  He also helped in organizing the Municipal Art League in 1901.

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

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