A Brief Intro to Bernard Frouchtben

Bernard FrouchtbenI’ve had a very pleasant night. Yesterday, I learned that we are going to go to the Santa Clara Antiques Roadshow. This is kind of a big deal, because we are in possession of a badly damaged painting by a great American Primitive painter Bernard Frouchtben, and we are very keen to learn if it would be worth the thousands of dollars to restore it. Don’t get me wrong: if I had the money, I would restore it regardless. The painting is fabulous and Frouchtben deserves it. A great wrong was done to him and to art itself in the way it was neglected.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more interested in idiosyncratic art. There are literally a million guys who can play blues in a standard way that is totally professional and enjoyable. But I’d much rather a blues player who shows me something different—something that tells me about him. That’s why I’ve been a booster for films like Death Bed: the Bed that Eats and The Final Sacrifice. Of course, none of this is to say that these artists don’t have great talent and Frouchtben certainly had plenty of that. In fact, I think it is wrong to call him a Primitive, but that is how he’s classified.

I am working on a full article about him. I’ve done a ton of research on him, and I’m in contact with his grandson, who is also a talented artist himself. At this time, I’m not going to show you the painting I have, because it is in really bad shape and you would get the wrong idea. So I present to you this black and white version of Lonely Man on a Lonely Road:

Lonely Man on a Lonely Road

I think you can see some of what I find so interesting about him. There should be more within a couple of weeks.

3 thoughts on “A Brief Intro to Bernard Frouchtben

  1. This may be rather forward but I would be interested in seeing a photo of the picture you have. I am Bernard’s great-great-grand daughter from his marriage with Dora Brown Frouchtben. I would be glad to provide you with the my work on ancestry.com in order to prove my lineage. I can be contacted through ancestry.com.


    Tiffany Krastins
    (Dexter Family Tree)

    • Thank you for commenting! I have corresponded with a grandson or great-grandson of Bernard Frouchtben’s. Unfortunately, he only has vague memories of the great painter working. It’s great to hear from relatives of his. Unfortunately, I am intellectually greedy and want more information on him! In particular, I simply want to see more of his work. I suspect that if I lived in the northeast, I would have a better chance of doing just that. How this painting got all the way to San Francisco must be an interesting and unusual story. Of course, I am also enraged at the treatment it ultimately received.

      The best image I have of the painting is in the article, Bernard Frouchtben’s War Painting. Should you ever be in northern California, I would gladly show you the actual work. Hopefully by then we can at least get it partially repaired. (It’s incredibly costly; and one must get on a waiting list because there are so few people who do such delicate work.)

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