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Frances Greenman (1890-1981)
Born in 1890 in South Dakota, Frances Cranmer Greenman enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. at the age of sixteen and won its gold medal four years later. She went on to study in New York City with William Merrit Chase and later Robert Henri.
By 1921 she had established herself as a society painter in Minneapolis. Though she spent a fair amount of time planning her works, she completed her paintings rapidly in order to capture her subjects' true expressions. Throughout her career, Greenman maintained a permanent studio at the Hampshire Arms Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota as well as studios in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Hollywood, California.
She is known for her numerous portraits, particularly those of celebrities and that of fellow artist Dewey Albinson, and it is said that she used to sing as she painted to help relax her subjects.
In 1954, she wrote an autobiography entitled, Higher Than the Sky. Greenman taught at the Minneapolis School of Art from 1941-43 and was also an art columnist and critic for the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune (today's Star Tribune). She died in 1981 in Medina, Minnesota.
Frances Greenman is featured, along with seven other renowned Minnesota artists (Wanda Gag, Clara Mairs, Alice Hugy, Elsa Laubach Jemne, Evelyn Raymond, Jo Lutz Rollins and Ada Wolfe), in a book entitled "Pioneer Modernists - Minnesota's First Generation of Women Artists." This beautiful book, published by Afton Press, is available for purchase at Gallery 5004.