Watkins, Franklin Chenault

BORN 30 Dec 1894, New York City, New York - DIED 4 Dec 1972, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
GRAVE LOCATION Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Christ Church Burial Grounds, Arch Street

Franklin Watkins grew up in North Carolina before he entered the Pennsylvania Academy in 1913. He studied there until 1918. In 1943 he would return there to become a teacher for 25 years. In 1927 he married Fredolyn Gimble, the daughter of department store owner Ellis Gimble.

His work was hardly noticed until "Suicide in Costume" won the first prize at the Carnegie International. The picture caused a controversy and he held a low profile for several years. In 1934 his first solo exhibition was held at the Rehn gallery in New York City.

He often worked as a portrait painter and in 1941 he was commissioned to paint President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Shortly before Roosevelt would sit Pearl Harbour was attacked and the portrait was never painted. Among his sitters were the psychiatrist Eugene Strecker and Jane Drummond (her portrait was named "Remember me"). The murals in the Rodin Museum on Philadelphia's parkway are from his hand.

In 1941 he divorced Fredolyn and in 1942 he married Ida Quiqley Furst. In 1972 a new wing of the Vatical would open where his work was represented by a large crucifixion. He travelled with his wife to the opening, but it was delayed. They stayed in Europe, but he died in Bologna on 4 Dec 1972. He was buried at Christ Church Burial Gronds in Philadelhia. His wife was buried in the same grave in 1981.


The grave of Franklin C. Watkins at Christ Church Burial Grounds, Philadelphia.
Picture by Androom (09 Apr 2010)


Watkins, Franklin Chennault | NCpedia

Watt, James

Published: 15 Nov 2014
Last update: 25 Feb 2022