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About Fran Lew

Fran has been featured in

Fran Lew Painting Official Portrait of First Lady of New York, Matilda Cuomo

“Ms. Lew is noted for her ability to synthesize a classically-based technique with a contemporary sensitivity. She disarms the formality of the portrait genre by the warmth and humanity of her perception. Her intelligence and receptivity are vital contributing factors to her accomplished style ” -  Grand Central Art Galleries

The official portrait of Mrs. Mario M. Cuomo, former First Lady of New York, is on public exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum. “The painting is "superb... and I'll tell you why. Matilda has a special quality, a warmth and gentleness that not every photograph captures. But this artist has captured it" - Former New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo

Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News

L to R   Artist Fran Lew, First Lady Matilda Cuomo, Governor Mario Cuomo, Actor Tony Randall

The unveiling for the Official Portrait of  the First Lady of New York State,
Matilda Cuomo, at the prestigious Columbus Club, New York City

American Master Portrait Painter

Fran Lew is an American Master Portrait Painter trained in Academic Classical Realism. Her training is extensive and can be traced back to the 19th century French Academy. Many of her portraits have won major awards in national competition. Lew has been commissioned to paint and draw the portraits of Heads of State, Captains of Industry, Distinguished Members of the Clergy and Medical Professions, Nobel Laureates, Stars of Stage and Film, as well as numerous Private Clients.

Fran Lew's deep respect for the techniques of the Old Masters is presented through her
own contemporary spirit. She is well known for capturing the inner personalities of her
sitters, and bringing the portraits to life.

Trained in the Classical Tradition in the United States and Italy 

Fran Lew comes from a family of artists. She began drawing at her father’s side at the early age of three. Her formal studies earned her BA degree with Honors in Art from CUNY, Brooklyn, and an MFA degree from Boston University. She did her postgraduate work in Venice, Italy at the renowned Palazzo Grassi International Center for Painting and Design. In New York City, she studied at the Art Students League with Masters Daniel Greene, Robert Beverly Hale, and John Howard Sanden. 

Fran Lew later moved to White Plains, New York, where she studied and flourished as a painter under the mentorship of Cesare Borgia. The late Cesare Borgia was a renowned, award winning instructor, and a student of legendary Master Illustrator Frank Reilly. 

Influence of Master Realists 

The late Frank Reilly is considered to be one of America’s foremost teachers of Realism. Reilly's teaching and artistic heritage is directly connected to the 19th century French Académie des Beaux-Arts. Reilly's drawing instructor, George Bridgman had studied with painter-sculptor Jean-Leon Gerome. Reilly's painting instructor, Frank Vincent DuMond attended the Académie Julian, where he studied under Master Artists such as Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. DuMond also studied with Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, who had been a student of Alexandre Cabanel, preferred painter of Napoleon III. Reilly was further influenced by renowned American illustrator Dean Cornwell. Cornwell had studied with Frank Brangwyn and Harvey Dunn. Dunn had been a student of Howard Pyle who is known as the Father of American Illustration. 

Historic Representation 

Fran Lew was represented by the historic Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City. The Grand Central Art Galleries was founded in 1922 by John Singer Sargent, Walter Leighton Clark,  together with Edmund Greacen, and other notable artists of that time. The Grand Central Art Galleries regularly held important art exhibitions and was also responsible for the creation, design, and construction of the United States Pavilion at the 1930 Venice Biennale. All through its history the Grand Central Art Galleries was the foremost exhibitor of Realism and Impressionism in American Art until its closing in 1994. Many of Grand Central Art Galleries records are archived at the Smithsonian Institute.

Artist to the 20th Century Stars 

Fran Lew brings her rich artistic heritage to her artwork. Today, Lew creates commemorative drawings of iconic 20th century film stars for Warner Bros. Fine Arts.

Portrait Commissions Welcome

Fran Lew also accepts portrait commissions from private clients.

Public Collections: United States Federal Reserve Board Fine Art Collection; 

Cornell Museum of American Art; Sherwin Miller Museum; Maitland Art Center Museum; State of Israel Collection; Brooklyn Historical Society Museum

Select Commissions: Portrait Philip Geier Jr., Interpublic Group of Companies, New York; portrait Thomas Casey, Tambrands, New York; portrait Daniel Damiano, Testwell Craig Corp, New York; portrait Charles Granatell, Granatell Industries, New Jersey; portrait Marvin Hochheiser, Metropolitan Geriatric Center, New York; portrait, Matilda Cuomo, First Lady of New York; portrait, Governor Mario M. Cuomo, New York; portrait, Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud (Nobel Laureate), New York; portrait, Henry Graff, historian, Columbia University, New York; portrait, Rabbi Maurice Davis, New York

Select Solo Exhibitions: Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, 1990; Coalition of Italo-American Assns., New York, 1990; Pen & Brush Club, New York, 1989; Manhattan Borough President’s Art Gallery, New York, 1989; Columbus Club, New York, 1982

Select Group Exhibitions: The Illustrated Gallery, Ft Washington, PA 2021; Chuck Jones Gallery at the  "Gardens at El Paseo" in Palm Desert, California, 2018; Chuck Jones Gallery at the "Palm Springs Modernism Show", California 2018, Chuck Jones Gallery, California, 2017, 2016, 2015; Hudson Valley Art Assn., New York, 1986-94; Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, New York, 1986-89; Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, 1987; American Artist Magazine Golden Anniversary Exhib. John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, California, 1987; Salmagundi Club, 1985, 86, 87; National Arts Club, New York, 1986; Palazzo Grassi International Center of Painting and Costume Design, Venice, Italy, 1978

Select Awards: Gold Medal, Knickerbocker Artists; American Artist Magazine Golden Anniversary National Competition, Crescent Cardboard Company, Corporate Prize; Solo Award-Best In Show, Pen & Brush Club Oil Exhibit; Thora M. Jensen Award, Hudson Valley Art Assn.; Sharon Ortlip Memorial Award, Salmagundi Club; Anna Hyatt Huntington Bronze Medal, First Place Graphic, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club; Margaret Dole Portrait Award, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club; Mrs. John Newington Award, Hudson Valley Art Assn; Grace Bogart Memorial Award, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club; Elizabeth Morse Genius Award, Pen & Brush Club; Philip Isenberg Award, Pen & Brush Club; Eileen McCarthy Award, Salmagundi Club; Grace Bogart Award, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club

Teaching: Instructor art, American International School, Israel, 1971-72; Chairwoman art department, Palisades Park High School, New Jersey, 1973-80; private studio and workshop instruction 1980-1997; Lecturer, business and art organizations, 1980-1997

Select Bibliography: Chuck Jones Gallery, feature article, "Star Trek Stars", 2017; Chuck Jones Gallery, feature article "Lew Loves Lucy", 2016; Chuck Jones Gallery, feature article "It's the Real Thing", 2014; Quoted, New York Times, 1995; Quoted, New York Post, 1995; Quoted, Gannet Newspapers Georgette Gouveau (author) 1995; Quoted, American Artist Magazine, June 1993; Oggi Magazine, April 1990; Manhattan Arts, October 1989; Drawings in the Golden Anniversary National Art Competition, American Artist Magazine, June 1987; Edward Rubin (author); New York Daily News, May 1986; Northlight Magazine, feature article, Member of The Issue, summer 1982; Who's Who in American Women; Who's Who in American Art

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