Frederick Franck

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Biographical Information

Frederick Franck (died in 2006)

"Franck arrived in America in 1939 where he received his American degree from the University of Pittsburgh. There he taught Oral Surgery and Anesthesiology until 1944 when he journeyed to Austria, serving as a consultant with the Netherlands Indies Government until the end of World War II. Back in the United States, he became a citizen in 1945. He practiced in New York City — but only for two days a week. During his leisure time, Franck wrote and painted in his studio on Bleeker Street. He became a successful painter and had regular one-man exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Amsterdam.

"From 1958 to 1961, Franck served as an oral surgeon on the medical staff of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene, Gabon, where he founded a dental and oral surgery clinic on behalf of MEDICO-CARE. His book Days with Albert Schweitzer was translated into ten languages. In 1963, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by the University of Pittsburgh.

"On reading Pope John XXIII's opening speech to the Second Vatican Countil, Franck felt it would be a spiritual watershed. He flew to Rome, where he was the only artist to draw all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. Pope John XXIII honored him with a medal of appreciation for these drawings. Franck went to Rome to draw this "genius of heart" one last time, as the Pope lay on his bier.

"In the late 1960s, Franck and his wife Claske moved to Warwick, New York, to concentrate on his drawing, painting, sculpture, and writing. There they converted the ruins of an eighteenth century watermill into an "oasis of peace and sanity" called Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth). This transreligious sanctuary, with its gardens and sculptures by Franck, is dedicated to Pope John XXIII, Albert Schweitzer, and the Japanese Buddhist sage Daisetz T. Suzuki. Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian, Jewish, and Buddhist groups have used this non-sectarian and sacred space for services, spiritual drama, and musical performances.

"Franck's drawings and paintings are part of the permanent collections of a score of museums in America and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, as well as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In 1994, he received another Honorary Doctorate, this time from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York, and was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as Officer of Orange-Nassau. In 2003, he had exhibitions at the Poughkeepsie Museum of Art and at Yale University's gallery of the Institute for Sacred Music. His latest exhibitions were in 2004 and 2006 in Poughkeepsie and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

"Franck wrote more than 30 books and was still writing and creating art at 97. His classic The Zen of Seeing is going strong with over 300,000 copies in print."[1] wiki

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  1. spiritualityandpractice Frederick Franck, organizational web page, accessed May 6, 2012.