Franklin C. Watkins (1894-1972) was born in New York but pursued his work as painter and teacher in Philadelphia. Over his long and distinguished career, he was awarded many honors and prizes, and his paintings hang in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as in many other museums, university collections, and private collections.
During a series of highly informal meetings betwen Franklin C. Watkins and author Ben Wolf—both deeply engrossed in art, one asking and listening, the other searching for answers with the naked honesty that distinguishes both the man and his work—this book found its natural though unorthodox form. The transcriptions of the actual conversations between the author and the painter are framed by an introductory essay on the origins of the book and by an account of the painting of Watkins's mural-sized canvas for the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. But the book's contents resist classification.
Ninety-four of Watkins's paintings are reproduced, together with a catalogue containing his comments on individual pictures.
Ben Wolf was a Philadeophia-born artist, critic, and teacher who served as associate editor of Art Digest and contributed to numerous newspapers and periodicals. He is the author of Morton Livingston Schamberg: A Monograph.