Mary Frank moved to the United States with her mother, a painter, in 1940. She studied dance with Martha Graham and majored in dance at the Proffesional Children’s School in New York. In 1950, she met and married photographer Robert Frank (they later divorced in 1969). Although primarily a self-taught artist, around that time she began to study drawing with Hans Beckman. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Frank began to work with clay the medium for which she is best known.
Frank comments on the notion of art’s function in society, “To comfort the dead, to awaken the living,…to make the eyes of children widen, to give courage, and never be afraid of tenderness or the absurd and to gather joy.”
Over the span of her fifty year career, Frank’s sculpture and paintings have been collected by every major Museum in New York including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Modern Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the Fine Arts Museum Boston and the Fine Arts Museum San Francisco. She has exhibited at prestigious museums and sculpture parks including those above and DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center. She has also received many honors such as the two Guggenheim awards, National Council on the Arts, Joan Mitchell Award, and the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award. Frank has also worked on set design for New York theater and illustrated children’s books. Mary Frank currently lives and works in upstate New York.