"My major interest, in terms of projected image, is to convey a feeling of aliveness..." professed Frank Robbins. So naturally he arrives at humans in action for his inspiration."*
Born in Boston in 1917, he was awarded a scholarship to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts at the age of nine. At fifteen he received a Rockefeller grant to study at the National Academy of Design in New York. He was then commissioned to paint portraits of the leading architects of Radio City Music Hall. He also designed a set of murals for the Children’s studio at the National Broadcasting Company, and at eighteen he received the Thomas B. Clarke award (the youngest artist to win this prize--$100, a great deal of money at that time).
Frank held his first one man show in 1961 at the Little Studio, Ltd. in Manhattan and exhibited widely in museums and national shows including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Walker Art Gallery in Minneapolis, the National Academy of Design, the Audubon Artist Annual and many others. In 1960 the Henry Ward Ranger Fund purchased a painting from the National Academy Annual and his work is represented in a large number of private, public and educational collections.
Although this site focuses on the fine arts collection of his works, Frank enjoyed a life-long career as a cartoonist, a commercial artist and illustrator, too. His first assignment for RKO Pictures was a movie poster of the head of Katherine Hepburn. Many more poster assignments followed and he won the Associated Press artist job of the “Scorchy Smith” comic strip by submitting panel drawings with narratives of the John Barrymore movie, “The Great Man.” Scorchy’s success led to a 37-yr. career drawing his own creation of the aviation action strip, “Johnny Hazard” for King Features. After “Johnny” there were many more, including “The Shadow,” “The Invaders,” and “Batman.” During the 1940s Frank illustrated war scenes for “Life,” “Look,” and “The Saturday Evening Post,” and for many years he drew advertisements for products like “Kalcan,” “Ipana Toothpaste,” “Chapstick,” and others. He also illustrated the “How to” sports (football, bowling, skiing, etc.) books of Howard Liss.
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS—THE CONSUMMATE ARTIST, Frank Robbins died in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1994.
*'The Artist' Magazine, March 1964/No.6/Issue 396.