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 Franklin Tyler Wood  (1877 - 1945)

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Lived/Active: Vermont/Massachusetts      Known for: illustration, etching, landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Alexander Hamilton
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The master graphic artist from Hyde Park, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin T. Wood, was born on 9 May 1877.  Franklin’s father, Enoch Wood, (1832-1882) was a schoolteacher.  After high school, Franklin enrolled in the Cowles Art School in Boston, then in 1897 he transferred to the Art Students League in New York.

Like most aspiring, young American artists, Wood went to Europe to polish off his artistic training (1903); his home base was Antwerp, where Charles Verlat had been the guiding spirit.  Verlat, who passed away in 1890, had spread Thomas Couture’s influence to Belgium.  Both John Leslie Breck and Edward Potthast studied under Verlat.  At any rate, Wood, after passing through Italy and Spain, was already back home a year later, so his academic experience was limited.  Wood would return to Italy in 1910. The artist began his career as an illustrator for journals such as The Youth’s Companion, Boston Home Journal and Frank Leslie’s American Illustration.

Wood participated in the Chicago Society of Etchers, whose exhibitions were held in the Art Institute of Chicago.  His etchings were highly praised. John Taylor Arms, a critic as well as an etcher, wrote how Wood “stands among the leading portraitists in contemporary graphic art . . . [his] prints will be a sense of enduring gratification to all who may be wise enough to study them and read their message of beauty.”

T.H. Thomas noted “there is always a delicately sympathetic human quality, wholly free from sentimentality” in Wood’s portraits.  He also admired the “spontaneity and directness of technique.”

Later in 1915 Franklin Wood moved to a rural community called Rutland, where, he stated, “it seems, one is closer to the infinite.  The boundaries are the wide sky and the rolling hills. . . . the yesterdays and tomorrows are of small moment.  The vague fears and worries of life lose shape in this restful beauty spot of nature.”

Besides the Chicago Society of Etchers, Wood exhibited at other venues, for example at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (fourteen etchings), Doll and Richards Gallery, Goodspeed’s Bookshop (where he had his first one-man show), at the Brooklyn Society of Etchers, at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (1928), and at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Franklin T. Wood’s final solo show was at the Grand Central Art Galleries in 1936.  At that point he lamented that viewers only responded to color, referring to art in “radical exhibitions.” Even earlier, in August 1929, it was reported in Harper’s that Wood had abandoned the graphic arts for painting.

Wood died on 22 May 1945, just two weeks after the end of World War II in Europe.

The Franklin Wood Studio became the Rutland Historical Commission.

Thomas, T.H. “The Etchings of Franklin T. Wood.” The Print Connoisseur 5 (July 1925): 229-245; Murphy, Timothy C. History of Rutland in Massachusetts 1713-1968. Northeastern University, 1928, p. 110; Currier, Isabel, R.A. “The Distinguished Etcher of Rutland.” Sunday Telegram, 9 December 1934; Larson, Judy L. American Illustration 1890-1925: Romance, Adventure and Suspense. Exh. cat. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Glenbow Museum, 1986; Thomas, Michael James.  Franklin T. Wood 1877-1945: Etchings and Drawings. Exh. cat. Chicago: Haase-Mumm, 1996.

Submitted by Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.

Biography from Heckscher Museum:
Franklin T. Wood was born in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

He studied at the Art Student League in New York and abroad. In 1915 he received a bronze medal for his work at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.

He was a well known etcher, but he also painted and carved wood. His prints are in the collections of the Congressional Library and the Smithsonian Institution

He died in Rutland, Massachusetts on May 22, 1945.

"The New York Times" Obituaries May 23, 1945

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Franklin Wood is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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