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Walter Frankl

 (1888 - 1963)
Walter H. Frankl was active/lived in New York.  Walter Frankl is known for figure, portrait, still life.

Biography  
Walter Frankl


Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Walter Frankl
The following is from Christy Campbell whose source is Grace Quinlan Frankl Campbell, step daughter of the artist:

WALTER FRANKL, son of Alfred Frankl, was born March 23, 1888 in New York City, NY, during the famous "great blizzard." He was the son of Austrian and German Jewish immigrants. He studied drama and art in Paris in the early 1900's, and was one of the original members of the Washington Square Players. Painting soon became his passion.

He served in World War I in France, and was at Chateau Thierry. After the Armistice, he was the first American soldier to cross the line into Germany, because he spoke German beautifully and could translate. He suffered from shell shock upon returning home to the U.S.

Back in the U.S. after the war, he met Katherine Townsend Chapman, a wealthy Cooperstown socialite who took him in as her protege.

He had met and fallen in love with Antoinette "Janet" White before the War, but she dated other men. Wherever she went, Walter was there in the crowd watching her. While he was at the War, Janet married a man named Walter Quinlan. When Walter Frankl heard about Quinlan's death in 1922, he renewed his attentions, and he and Janet were eventually married on March 14, 1923 in Westport, Connecticut. (Janet was the daughter of HOMER WHITE and MARY MILLER. She was born June 07, 1894 in Butte, Montana, and died October 2, 1978 in Montgomery CO, MD.)

The Frankls lived in Westport for a while, then moved to New York City. They lived in apartments and studios in New York; Grace (Janet's daughter, Walter F.'s stepdaughter) remembered living "on almost every street in Greenwich Village." Finally they settled down for many years on the 5th floor walk-up of 217 W. 10th Street. (Many of the apartments the Frankls lived in were loans from friends who were temporarily away.) For a time, Walter's wife Janet lived with her Aunt Ann "Nan-Nan" Miller Paine on W. 10th Street, while Walter lived somewhere else. Walter had a difficult time painting during this time because he didn't have a studio.

The Frankls spent summers in Cooperstown, in a farmhouse on Katie Chapman's property, Brookwood Farm. Here, Walter had a studio in the barn behind the house. A large studio window was cut into the front wall of the barn, and the studio was on the upper level, entered via a trap door.

There were lots of parties and merriment in Cooperstown in the 20's and 30's, and Walter was the life of the party. He was a great wit, but his wit was never unkind or at the expense of anyone else. He was very popular with the Cooperstown crowd.

Around 1936, the Frankls spent the winter in Southern Pines, North Carolina with "the Cooperstown group." Gracie joined them there in the spring. She recalled in 1982 that they stayed at "a little house in a pine wood," and that it was lovely. Grace was 14 at the time, and the family had a Cocker Spaniel named Cholmondeley, usually called "Chummy."

Walter Frankl was never successful as an artist in New York City, but was much appreciated in and around Cooperstown. Many Cooperstown families have paintings done by Walter Frankl. He often worked from photographs rather than life as he grew older; most of his paintings of children were done from photographs.

Walter's mother Sara, known as "Granny" by Grace, lived in a big apartment on West End Ave. during the 30's. Her second husband had died, and she took in boarders. She wanted Walter and his family to come to dinner on Sundays, which caused terrible scenes in the Frankl household every Sunday as Walter wanted to attend these dinners but his wife Janet hated them. Whenever they went, Grace recalled, they "sat at a huge table with all the old Jewish boarders, each with his pills and medicine in front of his place, and they talked about their ailments."

Many times, Walter went to Cooperstown alone, leaving Janet in New York City with Nan-Nan. Janet didn't like going to NYC and staying at a hotel, and Walter was freer to move around Cooperstown society as a bachelor. He loved Cooperstown and knew all the stories about the people and their relationships there. He used to stay at the Tunicliff Inn when he was there.

He was a real charmer, and many women loved him. He died of cancer on May 17, 1963 in New York City. Afterwards, four of his lady admirers came to call on Janet, who was then living at 1486 Second Avenue, over a fish market.

He was cremated, and his ashes interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in New York City. A Veteran's Burial Allowance covered all funeral/burial expenses except for $19.00.


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Biography photo for Walter Frankl
Photo submitted by Christy Campbell




About  Walter Frankl

Born:  1888 - New York, New York
Died:   1963 - New York, New York
Known for:  figure, portrait, still life