Eugene M. Frandzen Biography

Eugene M. Frandzen




Eugene Mabus Frandzen, illustrator, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in San Diego, California on 13 April 1983 to Eugene and Charlotte Elizabeth Davies Frandzen. His father died in 1900, his mother passed away in 1907, his grandmother died in 1912, and his brother’s death occurred in 1913.

At the age of twenty-years-old, Eugene became head of the household and moved with his younger sister, Glenn, to Chicago. Eugene studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and upon his graduation in 1917, he was awarded the First Place Goodman Prize from his oil portrait of his sister.

After graduation, Frandzen taught briefly at the School’s juvenile extension class in Longwood, Illinois. In 1918, he was drafted in the United States Army and was a First Lieutenant in the Illinois Field Artillery Reserve Corps. During the last two months of World War I, he served in France. After fulfilling his military duty, Frandzen returned to Chicago and opened his first commercial art studio. By 1921, he was living in New York and working independently as an illustrator. His studio was located on West 13th Street.

Frandzen began studies at the Art Students League and the Grand Central School of Art, where he studied with the illustrator Pruett Carter and, the illustrator and muralist, Dean Cornwell. His illustrations appeared with some regularity in the New York Times in 1922 and the following year he illustrated several children’s books and his illustrations appeared in the magazines Boy’s Life and St. Nicholas.

Over the course of many years, Frandzen produced illustrations for Police Stories and The Elks Magazines. He also contributed illustrations and covers for aviation magazines and illustrated The Black Falcon by Arthur J. Burks and Devildog Squadron: The Crimson Fog by Donald Keyhoe.

In 1937, he moved back to California with his wife, Emma, and settled in Pasadena. He was a member of and exhibited with the Laguna Beach Art Association, the Pasadena Society of Artists, the Printmakers Society of California, and Artists of the Southwest. After WWII, he taught private printmaking classes in his studio and he authored two instructional pamphlets, How to Paint with Acrylic and Outdoor Sketching, Indoor Painting.

The work of Eugene M. Frandzen is represented the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas.

Eugene M. Frandzen died on 5 July 1972 in Laguna Beach, California.