Larry Francis: The City in a New Light
January 4 – 26, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, January 4, 5 – 7 pm
Gross McCleaf Gallery
127 S. Sixteenth Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
My subject is the city, the world outside my door. These paintings are straightforward representations of the things I see. There is a bit of magic in the early morning light on a wall, the cacophony of colorful signs in a shop window, or along a thoroughfare, and the reflections of light sparkling on the river. All these bits of life, and the sense of human habitation within the city, are important to me. – Larry Francis
Many painters have captured scenes of everyday life, however, the paintings of Larry Francis are full of a glowing delight, derived from a fascination with the atmosphere of city life. Philadelphia is a frequent subject of his work, the pieces reflecting the personality of the industrial, yet often quaint, metropolis. Some of his paintings find nooks of the city that are serene; the secluded neighborhoods and parks that visitors do not always get the chance to see. Some are more active scenes; the bustling downtown areas and buildings that are more iconic to Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Francis uses gouache and oil paint to capture the light of the golden hour of the city with warm, luminous hues. He renders the most beautiful days in Fairmount Park, with crystal clear reflections of the sky on the water of the Schuylkill River. His paintings are refreshingly straightforward – nothing seems to be hidden – yet they often leave the viewer curious to learn more of the story. The joy infused into these works is infectious, and viewers might find themselves feeling nostalgic for a place they have never been. Larry Francis has been showing with Gross McCleaf Gallery since 1982, and is currently an instructor in painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied from 1967 to 1971.
About The Artist:
Larry Francis is a Philadelphia native who has painted on the streets of the city from the early part of his life in art. Larry studied painting at PAFA where he was awarded the J. Henry Schiedt European Traveling Scholarship in 1970. His first big solo show was held at the Peale House Galleries of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1979. Over the years, Mr. Francis has received a number of awards; a few are the Julius Hallgarden Prize from the Academy of Design N. Y. in 1972, Mary Butler Award from the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1996, Charles Knox Smith Founders Prize at the Woodmere Art Museum 2002, and a Prize for Painting at Cheltenham Art Center in 2011 and 2018. HIs work is in many public and private collections including the Noyes Museum of New Jersey, Woodmere Museum in Chestnut Hill, Federal Reserve Bank ,Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum. Mr. Francis shows his work at the Gross McCleaf Gallery, where he has had a dozen solo shows. Larry can be seen in the short film “ Larry Francis: Painting Philadelphia, by John Thornton. Larry teaches Landscape Painting and Drawing at the PAFA.