Frank Crawford Penfold Paintings

1849 - 1921

Frank (Francis) Crawford Penfold (1849-1921) was an artist, teacher, lecturer, known for marine/seascape, genre, landscape, and portrait paintings, especially of the Brittany region of France. Penfold came from a family of artists, (the son of the portrait painter William Penfold (English born-American, 1827-1875), who was active in Lockport and Buffalo, New York. His mother was also an accomplished artist as were his two brothers Charles C. (1856- ) who designed engraved and manufactured fine jewelry in Buffalo, NY, beginning in 1872 and William who became a fresco artist in Erie, PA. He also had three sisters Ida, Lillie and Marie. 


Frank’s father originally wanted him to become an engraver, but one day at school Frank drew a sketch of the old schoolhouse in Lockport, NY in the back of an atlas. The principal at the time, Mr. Porter was charmed with the sketch and asked Frank to paint it on canvas. Frank and his younger brother used to clean up their father’s studio every evening, washing brushes and palettes, and unknown to his father, saved enough paint from his father’s palette to finish the piece. Mr. Porter was pleased with the painting and had it framed and exhibited. From that time forward Frank trained with his father in portraiture and other painting styles. 


Frank had moderate success while living in Buffalo but decided to further his studies abroad. Around 1877, he traveled to France and later settled in Pont Aven, Brittany where he also taught in the artists’ colony. He studied in Finistère, Brittany, France and also trained at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1884. He occasionally returned to Buffalo, NY and in 1891, taught a class at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery. He remained an influential figure in the Buffalo art scene and also helped organize the Municipal Art League in Chicago, IL in 1901. He was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists and served as President in 1896, Buffalo, NY. Frank alternated between two homes, one in Pont Aven, France and another at 32 Johnson Park, Buffalo, NY.