Albert Jacques Franck

Albert Jacques Franck

1899 - 1973
ARCA CSPWC OSA

Albert Jacques Franck was born in Middleburg, Holland in 1899. As a young man he excelled as a musician - he played the cello - as well as in the sport of competitive swimming. Swimming took him to Belgium, where he became the long distance champion of 1924, then to Indonesia, the United States, and eventually to Canada, where he worked as a swim coach for the YMCA in various places, including Montreal and Jasper National Park in Alberta. Franck had been interested in painting as a child, but had been discouraged from furthering this pursuit by his father. When he settled in Toronto in 1926, he renewed this interest and began to paint in earnest. By 1928 he had centered his attention firmly on street scenes. During this time he also worked at both Eatonís and Simpsons department stores' fine art departments. He also worked as a painting restorer, setting up his own shop on Gerrard Street, where he also showed his own work, a situation which eased his financial situation during the Depression. His first exhibitions were at Simpsons and Eatonís, as well as Roberts Gallery and Hart House in Toronto. His primary subjects of old houses in Toronto were complimented by still lifes and florals, and he also executed a series of works depicting Canada from the air. He was an influential artist and was friends with many of the Painters Eleven group, particularly Harold Town, who wrote a book about Franck entitled Albert Franck: Keeper of the Lanes - His Life, Times and Work, published in 1974. Franck died in Toronto in 1973 at the age of 74.