John Franklin Wright, Jr.

WRIGHT FRANK WRIGHT (Age 87) Artist and educator, died on August 9, 2020 at his
home in Washington, DC, of natural causes. With a long, prolific career as a painter,
printmaker, and educator, Frank's life was one of unbound curiosity, tremendous
intensity and drive, humor and wit, as well as profound generosity, fellowship, and love
of family.

Born October 10, 1932 in Washington, DC, Frank (John Franklin Wright, Jr.) grew up in
Kenilworth, NE\, Washington, DC, with parents John Franklin Wright, Sr., Margaret
Young Wright, and sister Rosalind. Graduating
Eastern High School, DCPS (1950),
he pursued a robust education through scholarships and fellowships, earning his BA in
Fine Arts (1954) from American University, where he met his wife of 63 years, Mary
Dow Wright. He received an MA in Art History (1960) from the University of Illinois, after
spending two years of research with Bernard Berenson at his Villa I Tatti (Italy). With a
Paul J. Sachs Fellowship, he studied printmaking, working with the print collections
(1959-1960) of Lessing J. Rosenwald (Alverthorpe and National Gallery of Art) and the
Fogg Museum, Harvard University, including curatorial/connoisseurship coursework
with John Coolidge. This was followed by three years printmaking with William Stanley
Hayter at his Paris Atelier 17 (1961-1964).

Returning to DC in the mid 60s, he focused on engraving and deep-bite etching. By the
late 60s, his art increasingly depicted his young daughter and wife with intimate
glimpses of everyday life. Frank's impact as an educator is among his greatest
legacies. He taught master drawing techniques to thousands of students over 60+
years. He was also a generous mentor, passionate about expanding his students'
horizons. He retired at age 82 as Professor Emeritus of Drawing and Graphic Arts from
the George Washington University, where he had taught since 1970.

A realist, Frank delighted in everyday moments, imbuing history with life, and capturing
the light and atmospheric beauty of the natural world. With a methodical process and
master craftsmanship, his careful planning led to canvases of subtle, yet bold
composition with luminous color from layered oil glazes and bravura brushwork. Frank's
studio was the beating heart of his unwavering, artistic practice from 1964-2018. For
over thirty years, he worked from the historic LeDroit Building overlooking the National
Portrait Gallery. In 1996, he moved to Columbia Plaza, near GWU, which served as his
artistic center for another 22 years. An artist-historian, Frank made a significant
contribution to our understanding of DC's past.

The fifth-generation Washingtonian researched and painted his contemporary DC life
and transformed forgotten DC past into atmospheric present from Civil War
Washington to FDR's 1940 inaugural parade. Frank exhibited widely in DC and
nationally, including notable solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1980), at
Kennedy Galleries, NYC, which represented Frank for many years, and most recently at
the Cosmos Club (2019), where he had been a member since 1989. His commissions
included paintings for NASA and the US House of Representatives. Frank's work can
be found in many public and private collections.

Frank loved people and built lasting friendships with former students, colleagues, and
people he encountered in everyday life. The Chesapeake Bay was Frank's DC retreat
and the beloved subject of many works. Paris was his 2nd city; he returned regularly to
rejuvenate, visit favorite artworks, coming home with ideas for new paintings.
Voraciously curious, Frank frequented museums for first-hand study, finding inspiration
in artists from Vermeer to N.C. Wyeth. Collecting 19th century diaries and
photographica, including an extensive collection of daguerreotypes, would lead him to
further research in archives and city records, and conversations with experts and
still-living relatives regarding his discoveries.

Frank is survived by his wife, Mary Dow Wright; daughter Suzanne Wright; son-in-law
Rustin Quaide; granddaughter Adrianna Quaide; sister Rosalind Wright Duckett (John),
nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in Spring 2021.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Frank Wright Young Artist Fund,
National Society of Arts and Letters, Washington, DC Chapter, which awarded Frank
his 1st scholarship.

Checks may be sent to NSAL-DC, Treasurer, 401 12th St. South, Ste 920, Arlington,
VA 22202.

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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 30, 2020.

John Franklin Wright
1932 - 2020