Art Heart: Frank Horowitz

“Oh, yes, I love Frank Horo…wait, who?” Frank Horowitz, don’t you know?

So the other night after work MCM and I were biking home and I spied a pile of frames and paintings on the side of the road. A bamboo frame particularly caught my attention as they are kitshy and wonderful. Go to any thrift store around here and that’s thirty bucks, easy. But there was a half-way decent watercolor in the frame and I started to blow off many, many layers of cobwebs. MCM found another nice portrait and an appealing flower study. Well, MCM’s finds were on the smaller side and fit well into her capacious bag but my lady was a bit too stout, even for my backpack. The woman who this pile had belonged to and who had obviously been clearing out her basement noted our interest and tried to get us to take several other things. Nope, those American Tourister suitcase sure are nice, but we’re kind of just interested in the art. She pulled out a metal frame backpack that was larger than mine and suggested the portrait might fit in that. Or she could put it aside and we could come back later. It was mighty sweet of her but we would be just as much without a car later as we were now. So we left; MCM, bag heavy with art and I (somewhat) heavy with regret. I was still mostly interested in the frame and it was only over the course of the night that the lady with the big hair would grow on me (other parties, parties with cars, were called and texted to help procure the painting, but they all failed.)

On my way to work the next day I took a shot and made sure my route went past that particular corner from the evening before. There she was, propped up against the side of the house, away from the detritus of a basement purge (i.e. two leftover American Tourister suitcases) waiting for me.

MCM’s pieces had gallery tags from NY in the 1950’s on the back and I thought I might see what information I could find out about my painting with all I had to go on. F. Horowitz. F(rank) Horowitz actually turned up some hits. Only three paintings, all in oil as opposed to my watercolor, and none of them portraits, but there was one with a blurry signature that looked pretty close to mine and the general style, well, it also seemed a go. The Brooklyn Museum had a group show with a Frank Horowitz back in the late 1920’s.

Frank Horowitz - Joseph Kinney Fine Art

Frank Horowitz - Still Life with Bottles, Pitcher and Fruit from Ask Art

From the Brooklyn Museum Press Release:

This exhibition is the annual summer event at the Brooklyn Museum. It is one of the largest and most popular non-jury shows in the city, as the invitations to exhibit are extended by Mr. Tschudy, Curator of Paintings, based on his wide acquaintance with artists and interesting developments which has has observed. In many cases he has brought forward people whose work has not been generally known before and in others he has shown work which has caused considerable stir during the past season but which was not generally seen in New York City. This year the exhibition is extremely international in character, as the foreword of the catalogue shows. The names of the artists and the number of exhibits are given in the catalogue. We give below what facts are available on the several artists. Photographs may be obtained from Miss Sparks in the publicity office on the fourth floor of the Museum.

A painter who has mastered the painting of Jewish character types, in a modern but not eccentric manner, is Frank Horowitz, who has won an important place for himself. He was born in Odessa, Russia, in 1889 and came to America in 1906. When 20 years old he entered a class at the Graphic Sketch Club of Philadelphia but supported himself during the day as a sign-painter. By winning a scholarship, he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1917 to 1918. A permanent result of his attendance there can be seen in a “Still Life” which the Academy purchased for its collection.

In 1928 he was commissioned to go to Russia to paint representative characters in the new agricultural colonies founded by the Agro Joint Society, a movement in southwest Russia fostered by a group of Americans. He spent three months in the Crimea, Kherson and Kriboy Rog districts, which meant pending a day in each of the 15 Jewish farming colonies of the Ukraine.

Last May he held an exhibition in New York at the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society on Lafayette Street, in which this type of work was shown, as well as the scenes he painted around Beacon, New York, where there are Jewish camps.

While in Russia Horowitz painted several well-known persons, two of whom are known to this country through their participation in the rescue of the Nobile Expedition. These two are Prof. Simoilovitch, Navigator of the ice-breaker “Krassin” and Shuchnofsky, the aviator. Four other persons of prominence in Russia whom he painter are: Smidowitch, vice-President of Soviet Russia Iuncacharsky, Minister of Education; Epolitoff Evanoff, composer of music; and Oborin, pianist.

“Jewish character types, in a modern but not eccentric manner”? Oh, 1920’s…So here is my lady – she might need a newer, brighter matte – but she will go with pride on my wall, attributed to an almost semi-famous painter or not. The above is just about the sum total of what I could find so far on the web so if you happen to be a Frank Horowitz expert I would love any additional information on him.

7 Responses to “Art Heart: Frank Horowitz”
  1. Jerry Smith says:

    I can pretty much see that hat on Ingrid Bergman.

  2. Carol Baker says:

    I think you have a find there! You will be right out front when he gets rediscovered!

  3. Carol Baker says:

    Is she perhaps the world- traveling Mrs Rasmussen, or a relative? Just a thought!

  4. woody says:

    Hi Oakland Etsuko,
    A friend of mine e-mailed me your link on World Press about the Horowitz painting from your Aug 2010 posting. I am very familiar with the Horowitz paintings and I can tell you much more about the artist. It appears that you have done some research on the web and posted it with your link. Unfortunately I have not yet updated the information about Frank Horowitz but I expect to do so eventually so that others know more about the artist. You are the second person (the other was from e-bay) that I know of who has posted something about Frank Horowitz. I am also curious about the person who was cleaning out their basement of the paintings and from where (location). I can explain my curiosity once we dialog a bit. What I can tell you is Frank Horowitz’s artwork was not very well respected, like many artist’s of his time including his own family. Some perceived his work as boring as typical of many starving artist’s looking to create anything they could sell for a nickel, dime, quarter or even a few bucks back in the 20’s thru 50’s. It does not surprise me that you found them the way you did. Sometimes people will obtain one of his works and sell on e-bay for $30 to $100 if they are lucky to get that based on what I have seen. Anyway hope you receive this e-mail and I will try to reply to you as promptly as I can but please be patient if I don’t.

  5. Jeff Cushner says:

    I’m Frank Horowitz’ grandnephew and have a variety of original paintings, oils and watercolors that in order to close my parent’s estate I will be forced to auction off. Before I can show photos of them, I need to get information as well as have them appraised. Those who are interested in either seeing them or possibly buying can email me at:

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