Virginia Mortenson-Francis Biography

Virginia Mortenson-Francis



Painter and printmaker Virginia Mortenson-Francis was born Virginia Eldredge Fuller on September 30, 1905, in New York City. Information on Mortenson-Francis' life is scarce, though it is certain that she was active throughout the New England art scene in the mid 20th century, and worked in oils and in intaglio printmaking. She was a member of the New Hampshire Art Association and likely studied with Hans Hoffman.

Mortensen-Francis' earlier work was signed Virginia Mortensen; later, she signed her work Virginia Mortensen-Francis. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York and in 1928 she married Leo W. Mortensen and they lived for a time in Manhattan, where their daughter Jane was born in 1938; soon after, their daughter Mary was born. With the onset of World War II Leo was stationed throughout the East Coast as an officer with US Army's 101st Cavalry and Virgina and their children went with him. When the war ended, they settled in Concord, Massachusetts. It's possible that at this time Virginia was first immersed in the arts scenes of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In 1970 Virgina remarried, to Lewis "Lew" Francis of Quissett. She became an historian of the Quissett Harbor House, saved from demolition by the Quissett Harbor House Land Trust, as well as a noted local artist. Mortenson-Francis died on December 15, 1996, in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

An exhibit of New Hampshire Modernists was held at the Discover Portsmouth gallery in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Art Association, and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen in 2015, and included the work of Mortenson-Francis as well as several WPA artists.