The artistic works which are created by Ann Froman express the theme of relationships. From the beginning of her career until today, all the inspiration and motivation for creating sculpture, drawings, painting and poetry comes from a desire to convey the value of relationships.
Ann’s career spans a successful beginning in fashion design and an ongoing, internationally recognized profession as a sculptor. As a private citizen, she is a woman whose concerns include the need for strong self esteem, educating children about the importance of caring and persistence, and social issues concerning women. Her association with several nonprofit organizations further demonstrates her devotion to the role of relationships in daily life.
She is a person whose compassion for others is incredible and whose commitment to living her life to its fullest is surpassed only by her will to share her knowledge and talent with the world. The relationships of her life play an important role in the development of her planning and execution of works of art intended for all to share.
All of this information encapsulates the works of Ann Froman. She is not only a prolific and successful artist, but an engineering genius as well. She was the protégé of Le Corbusier, the world famous French architect, when she studied in Paris. Her professional biography accompanies this introduction and will give you a more detailed vision of her worthwhile career. Froman is a true hands on sculptor, who works on every process of the details of her masterful creations. There are very few artists in our world that possess the wide range of talent that Froman is endowed with. She has been truly blessed.
One of the collections of works entitled “The Art of Relationships” by Ann Froman includes varied subjects and media: acrylic and bronze sculptures, works on paper, paintings and poetry. Her newest masterpiece of “HEROES ” is the first sculpture she has created since regaining her sight after ten eye operations.
Considered a true innovator and one of our greatest living sculptors, Ann Froman is internationally recognized artists whose sculptures have found a place in many prestigious collections, including those of Time Warner, Inc., March of Dimes, Harvard University, Brooklyn College, the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Temple Emanu-El, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Culinary Institute of America .
Sheila Kurte, Director
American Center for Arts and Culture
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? FOUR OF THE INDUSTRY’S MOST WELL – KNOWN DESIGNERS HAVE MADE EVEN BIGGER NAMES FOR THEMSELVES IN THE FOOTWEAR AFTERLIFE.
They were some of the biggest names in the business.
Before Sigerson Morrison, Kate Spade and Tamara Mellon created their own fashion empires, Ann Froman, Joan Halpern, Florence Otway and Bonnie Smith were the It-Designers of the shoe industry. For many decades, each of these women played a key role in defining the direction of footwear design.
Today, all four have left the shoe world to pursue new careers light years away from the world of lasts, sketches, boutiques and pumps. But each of these powerful talents has left a lasting impression on the business they loved, and as a group, they are often credited with paving the way for a whole new crop of female designers.
Ann Froman, 60, was one of Nina Footwear’s top designers in the 1960s and 1970s and broke new ground by designing the first fashion-driven down boot and rubber-bottomed pump. Today, she is an acclaimed sculptor whose work has been on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn College.
While these former footwear designers are now traveling down extremely different paths, they share a common goal: to lend their considerable talents to a host of new careers. Here, Footwear News catches up with Froman, Halpern, Otway and Smith, and looks at the post-footwear lives of the prestigious group of women.
Ann Froman, Artist Extraordinaire.
Now a world-renowned artist whose sculptures have been displayed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn College, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Ann Froman still has a shoe fetish. “For the last 36 years, I’ve lived off my sculpture,” she said. “But if I go to a new city, I still walk into a shoe store before I go into an art gallery.” Froman’s passion for design — both apparel and shoes — began as a child. She attended the High School of Art and Design in New York, and then the Fashion Institute of Technology. After that, she moved to Paris to study painting and architecture under the legendary Le Corbusier at the Palace de Fontainbleau School of Fine Art. “I showed him my designs, and he felt I should switch my major from painting to sculpture,” recalled Froman. But she returned to New York and landed her first job in 1960, designing clothing for Abe Schrader. After a couple other apparel-design stints, she decided she wanted to design shoes. “I always had a shoe fetish,” Froman recalled. “I used to draw them all the time.” So she began flipping through the classified section of Footwear News and came upon a position for a freelance shoe designer at St. Louis-based International Shoe Company. She sent in a few of her sketches. The company liked what they saw, and before she knew it, she was again drawing shoes — this time, for pay. In 1964, she moved on to the famed Fleming-Joffe, a company known for its high-fashion leather goods and exotic skins; Charles Jourdan, Bruno Magli, Nina Footwear and Ferragamo were only a few of the companies that purchased their materials from Fleming-Joffe. During this time, Nina Footwear’s Mike and Stanley Silverstein “begged” Froman to leave Fleming-Joffe to become their company’s full-time designer. “They really wanted me,” she recalled. “One time, they even offered me a Rolls-Royce if I came and worked for them.” So two years later (and with no Rolls-Royce), Froman accepted a position at Nina, where, she said, Stanley Silverstein taught her how to run an entire shoe through the factory, from last to heel. “She was greatly talented, had great ideas, and she had a handle on what design was all about,” said Silverstein.
A few years later, Froman went out on her own, designing for Caressa, Pallizio, Gambit Shoe Company and Belgrade Shoe Company. Over the next 10 years, the designer made a lasting mark on the industry: She designed the first-ever pair of fashionable down boots for women. She created Lucite-heeled shoes, boots with white Christmas lights running down their backs, shoes that fold up, and alligator boots on 4-inch platform heels for Sammy Davis, Jr. (He wore them for the first time on “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson.) “I was one of the first to make `monster shoes’ on big wide lasts.
I was also the first to put rubber soles on shoes said Froman. “Everyone laughed then, but they shouldn’t have. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think people knew how to make comfortable shoes.” While she was busy creating cutting-edge footwear for a slew of well-known companies, Froman never put her sculpting aside. “One time I went to her home to interview her,” recalled Vivian Infantino, Footwear News’ fashion editor at large. “We were in the kitchen and she was making cereal for her baby and I remember that there were little figurines of clay everywhere. She was always sculpting.”
In the early ’70s, at a time when Froman’s career was at its height, she decided to quit footwear design and pursue her sculpting full-time. “Everyone thought I was nuts,” she recalled. “But I had started to collect art and I was so thrilled with sculpture.” Bill Blass said, “How could you leave the fashion business you will be on the top of our trade”. She said, “Bill no one will remember my fashions, but they will remember my monuments”.
She enrolled in a sculpture course at the New School in New York and on her first day of class, her instructors told her to leave because, “They said I was a natural talent and they had nothing to teach me,” Froman said. But she continued the course, and six months later she had her first one-woman show. It sold out.
Today, Froman said her medium of choice is bronze and that her artistic influences range from the Bible to relationships to politics to world events. Her Women of the Bible collection (1977) consists of 21 bronzes depicting religious characters, such as Jezebel and a pregnant Eve without a belly button; Froman’s Holocaust Collection (1980) includes her most famous piece, “Survival” — a two-tiered sculpture depicting a huddled mass of people gazing reflectively into the sky. Versions of the sculpture are now on display all over the country, some at the entrances of Brooklyn and Radcliffe Colleges. “She puts life into a piece of metal,” said Silverstein, who today is an avid collector of Froman’s sculpture. “You look at it and you can see their smile and what is behind them. I’ve seen very few people do it like that. She’s
unique in that way.”
But in 1999, Froman’s career took a drastic turn. She fell down a flight of stairs, and shortly thereafter lost her sight. She was completely blind for two and half years. “I couldn’t see or sculpt, but really wanted to do something,” Froman said. “But I was depressed, so a dear friend of mine took me to [Upstate New York to relax for a while].” There, Froman had the vision to open her own gallery. So in June 2001, with the help of her husband, family and friends, the Ann Froman Gallery opened in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The 1,500-sq.-ft. space is now home to much of her work, while it also hosts shows for other renowned artists.
After several rehabilitating operations, Froman regained her sight in January 2003. “My friends tell me God gave me back my sight so I could sculpt again,” she said. Today, 60-year-old Froman is sculpting her first piece since she regained her sight. She said the subject matter is “top secret” and that if she divulged any further information
she could be disqualified from the event. She now frequently negotiates with museums and galleries, planning one-woman exhibitions and showings of
her sculpture. In fact, later this summer, the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will host an exhibition of her work. “The work I do today reflects my background,” Froman said. “My fashion design, art and architecture has all culminated together into my sculpture.”
THE QUEEN OF ART
by Noah Fleisher
As a student at the Palace of Fontainebleau School of Fine Art, France, she studied with Henri Goetz, painting and Etienne Martin Sculpture. Lucinda Ballad, the top Broadway costume designer sponsored her studies at Fontainebleau.
In Paris, she was the protégé of Le Corbusier the master of French Architecture. He taught her how light and nature plays a great part of form and design. She had a liaison with Picasso, whom she met through Le Corbusier, at a Paris café. Years later her mother gave her letters that said, ‘Corbu, said, I should major in sculpture”.
She worked on the costumes for the Jean Genet’s off Broadway show ,“The Blacks”. There she met James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, that became lifelong friends. She married a man 22 years her senior at 20, who was the father of her Child.
Her daughters God parents are Miles Davis & Cicely Tyson. At 29 she married an abusive man 13 years her senior, who was a prisoner of war in Korea. Froman, created a body of work to heal people in abused relationships. Entitled, ” The Art of Loving”.
In between she dated Peter Lawford, James Earl Jones, and encountered Clint Eastwood, and Robert Goulet. Men ah pause to her…. is the time between Lovers. As a student at the Palace of Fontainebleau, she sailed on Onassis’ s Yacht.
She designed clothes and shoes for Sammy Davis Jr. and Laine Kazan. Sammy, offered her the chance to design his clothes for his London show of “Golden Boy”. She is in his book “Black & White”. Bill Blass, told her she was crazy to give up the fashion business to be a sculptor. She created the first line of Down Fashion Boots. She was the first designer to put bras in evening dresses. Ann, was one of the top award winning footwear designers in the ‘60’s to 70’s, giving up a major career in Fashion to create monuments all over the world.
Milton Berle, called her Annie the Chiseler, because she was a sculptor. He was one of her sponsors for the NY Friars Club.
Froman, has a monument called,” Survivors”, in front of Brooklyn College State University of New York. Time Warner’s Steve Ross, purchased her sculpture for Radcliff College. among many other prestigious places. It now stands at Harvard University.
She was the first living artist to exhibit at the Bennington Museum, her “Dancing Bronzes”. They were commissioned by the museum director. They toured the country and were collected by Dame Margo Fontaine, Rudolf Nureyev, Ann Miller and Alvin Ailey.
The Dade County Arts Council sponsored her Florida exhibition of Froman’ s famed “WOMEN of the BIBLE”, bronze sculpture collection. It drawn thousands of people of all faiths to admire and collect them, during the national tour.
Misao’s New York Diary: A Visit to Ann’s House
by Misao Itoh (translated from Japanese)
Harper’s BAZAAR Japan
May 14, 2010
New York has four beautiful seasons and is a very colorful town. The Central Park near my apartment is full of beautiful colors in four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter respectively. New York is a “Salad Bowl of races”, people are also very colorful.
Colorful means “Brilliant”,” Lively”, Interesting”, and Beautiful like a picture”. In this blog, I would like to introduce colorful people, places and products which I meet. Please enjoy exciting colorful New York and feel the breath of New York.
A Visit to Ann’s House
I did a small day trip from the Grand Central Station, in Manhattan, taking the train for about one hour and 40 minutes to Poughkeepsie to visit Ann Froman whom I introduced earlier in my blog.
Grand Central Station, a main subway and train terminal in midtown Manhattan, is like a Tokyo train station with many commuters and very crowded. This station was built in the 1860’s with a luxurious and classic style. Once this station was in danger of being demolished because of its old age. Because many New Yorkers love this station, they were opposed to the demolition. Now this station was renewed in 1998 without being demolished interior, and still retains its beautiful figure.
In the film, “Falling in Love”, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro’s love story was set in this station. Another movie that I like “Last Station” is set in a Rome train station. There are many dramas in the train stations anytime, anywhere.
Riding the train from Grand Central Station at around 11:00 on Saturday, I went Poughkeepsie, the end of the line. Looking at green forest on the right and on the left the Hudson River flowing by, I felt kind of like I was going to meet my lover.
However, a person who welcomed me was not a lover, but Ann with a big smile. Although the station has atmosphere but now is under renovation, I could not take any photos.
The area is blessed with beautiful nature and there are the house of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the mansions of leading U.S. millionaires like Vanderbilt. If I have a chance, I will introduce you to these mansions.
Ann’s house was built by her third husband, Rodney with his assistant in only 4 months. The house is spacious with high ceilings and large windows great for a sculptor like Ann. The house is decorated with sculptures which are also seen in the gallery but these sculptures show me a different aspect when I look through windows overlooking the green of the forest.
My favorite sculpture “One Evolving”, stands out against the window with a background of green and shows me its delicacy and dignified beauty. I believe that art still has a place in the home. It is hard to have a house in which sculptures look good, but I dream of living in a house that sculptures decorate.
Ann, not only sculpts, but also paints. There are works that combine painting and sculpture. There is a sculpture of a man standing in front of an orange and black abstract painting. The sculpture has the same color paint as the painting. It is interesting to position the sculpture and the painting together like this…. Both works of art by Ann.
There is also a spacious feeling in the loft style bedrooms. In the kitchen, with a lot of cabinets hand-made by Rodney, Ann cooked pasta and salad. “I am so happy to work surrounded by this beautiful nature and in this special home-made by my husband” Ann said with a really happy look.
This area is beautiful and green in spring and summer, with autumn foliage that is great. I would like to visit here again.
Original Japanese article – http://ameblo.jp/bazaar2009/entry-10531974173.html