Frank Lobdell, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Kansas City, Missouri on August 23, 1921. During 1938 and 1939, Lobdell attended the Saint Paul School of Fine Art in Minnesota where he was a student of Cameron Booth. He became a lifelong friend of fellow student Walt Kuhlman. In 1940, the two went to Chicago to view the Picasso exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. During World War II, Lobdell served in the US Army between 1942 and 1946. After the war, he settled in Sausalito, California and, in 1947, he enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts under the GI Bill. He was a member of the Sausalito Six and was included in the 1948 group exhibition 5 Young Moderns at the Seashore Gallery of Modem Art in Sausalito.
Lobdell left for Paris in 1951 and enrolled in the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. Walt Kuhlman joined him in Paris and they were included in the exhibition 6erne Salon des Realites Nouvelles at the Petit Palais in 1951. That same year Lobdell returned to San Francisco and established a studio. His distinguished teaching career began in 1957 at the California School of Fine Arts where, according to art historian and critic Thomas Albright, "he was one of the most influential teachers." In 1966, he was Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University and he joined the Stanford faculty the following year. He was Professor of Art until his retirement from Stanford in 1991.
Lobdell exhibited internationally and his legacy of solo exhibitions include shows at the de Young Memorial Museum; Pasadena Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modem Art; Hearst Art Gallery, Saint Mary's College; College of Notre Dame Art Gallery, Belmont; and Stanford University Museum of Art. Honors bestowed on his work include the first Nealie Sullivan Award by the San Francisco Art Association and the Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Painting from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Repositories of his work include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Stanford University Museum of Art, Oakland Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modem Art, and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Frank Lobdell died in Palo Alto, California on December 14, 2013.