Roberts Gallery Blog
Roberts Gallery Blog

Albert Franck Spotlight

Born in Middleburg, the Netherlands, Franck moved to Canada in 1926. As a young man, he was a champion swimmer and made his living as a swim coach upon arriving in Canada. Although he always had a keen interest in art, he was discouraged from pursuing a career in art by his father. He went on to work for the Eaton’s and Simpson’s fine art departments while at the same time he began painting himself. He later opened a framing and restoration business.


He married fellow artist, Florence Vale and in the 1950’s, they developed a studio into a gathering place for the arts community fostering the work of many local young artists. They were particularly instrumental in exhibiting the emerging abstract art scene. Although considerably older than these young artists, they became very close with the yet-to-be formed members of the Painters Eleven, especially Harold Town.


Franck’s own work was very different from those he encouraged. His work depicted run down Toronto houses in the city’s less affluent neighbourhoods. Often time, they were painted on a dreary winter day. He worked in both oil and watercolour.


His first exhibitions were held at Simpson’s and Eaton’s Art Galleries and he held numerous solo exhibitions at Roberts Gallery in the 1950’s and into the early 1970’s. The Art Gallery of Ontario held a retrospective of this influential artist in 1973. His work can be found at the AGO, New Brunswick Museum, Guelph University, University of Western Ontario and numerous private and corporate collections.