FRANK WEATHERS LONG (American, Tennessean, 1906 - 1999)

Frank Weathers Long was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on the seventh of May in 1906.  His father, a well-known Kentucky portrait painter, raised his family in eastern Kentucky.  Although Long is also known as an engraver, author, sculptor and jeweler, he gained recognition as a muralist.  He studied at a number of prestigious art institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academie Julian in Paris.  However, his love for the eastern Kentucky hills and his desire to associate himself as a southern artist influenced his decision to remain in Berea, Kentucky rather than follow the wave of artists settling in New York City.  While he considered himself a southern artist, Long initially found trouble receiving the local commissions he sought.  The Section of Fine Arts of the United States Post Office did not originally recognize him as a southern artist and hired him to paint murals in Oklahoma, Indiana and Maryland.  When the opportunity to paint a mural at the Berea post office arose, Long eagerly prepared an entry for consideration.  He remarked that “such a project…would be most agreeable to me and that in order to place some of my work in this, my place of residence, I should be glad to do the job for any consideration whatsoever.”  His winning design for the office has been considered one of his most successful works.  Coincidentally, as he grew older, Long’s interest in mural paintings diminished.  He commented, “I never considered myself primarily a mural painter…I was far more interested in easel painting in which there is complete freedom to create the artist’s interpretations of his visual-emotional world.”  Long took immense pride in personalizing his works.  He ground his own colors, prepared his own panels and integrated personal friends into his paintings.  His love for the area in which he lived and painted and his inclusion of intimate friends established Long as a southern regionalist painter.  Long died on 22 January 1999 in Diamondhead, Mississippi.

Studied

Art Institute of Chicago

New Mexico State Teachers College

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Academie Julian, Paris

Work

IBM Collection

Berea College

Murals at the University of Kentucky and Davidson (NC) College

United States Post Offices: Berea, Morehead and Louisville, KY; Drumright , Hagerstown, MD

Smithsonian Institution, National 

Member

Museum of American Art

Southern Highlanders Handicraft Guild

Albuquerque Chapter of New Mexico Designer-Craftsmen (president, 1969)

Positions

Supervisor of the Arts and Crafts program for the Indian Arts and Crafts Bd.

U.S. Dept. of Interior, Juneau

Same position covering the Southwestern 

Exhibited

AK, 1951-1957

Worlds Fair New York, 1939

USA and Florida, 1958-1961

Golden Gate Expo, San Francisco, 1939

American Federation of Arts traveling exhibition

IBM traveling exhibition to South America

Berea College, 1938-1940 (solos)

Ashland (KY) Art Association, 1939 (solo)

Speed Memorial Museum, 1940 (solo)

University of New Mexico Gallery, 1968

Museum of Albuquerque, 1979

Author/Illustrator

Herakles: The Twelve Labors, 1931

Illustrator

Wood Engravings and Text

Author

The Creative Lapidary, 1977; Lapidary Carving, 1982; Confessions of a Depression Muralist, 1997

References

Contemporary Art of the United States, exhibition catalog for the collection of IBM; _____, New York World’s Fair 1939; Beckham, Depression Post Office Murals and Southern Culture; Falk, Who Was Who in American Art; Long, Confessions of a Depression Muralist; Opitz (ed.), Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.