While the name Hannah Frank might seem rather innocuous and totally unfamiliar to most people, her pseudonym Al Aaraaf might spark an association in some minds, albeit it might be thanks to the eponymous Edgar Allan Poe poem from whence her nom d’artiste was derived.
At any rate, Frank was an illustrator, sculptor and poet whose legacy began back in 1925, when, at the age of 17, she started creating art nouveau-inspired drawings reminiscent of the late 19th-century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley.
While Frank’s might not be a particularly well-know name in the annals of women and/or Jewish artists, she had a prolific career that spanned multiple art forms, and, amongst the achievements in her name, she was the first person to ever receive a posthumous honorary degree from University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Frank faced many obstacles on her way to success, including pervasive sexism that routinely kept women out of school and in the home, doing work that was considered appropriate for them, in addition to religious discrimination due to her Jewish heritage. Persevering, she appealed to a local civic officer in Glasgow, and Frank was able to attend the Glasgow School of Art.
Creating works of art until her 90s, Frank passed away in December of 2008, leaving behind a legacy of beautiful 2d and 3d artwork in addition to elegant prose.
Artist of the Century. Jim McBeth, Scottish Daily Mail, 23rd August 2008. Accessed 6/22/2015.
Honorary degree for renowned Glasgow artist Hannah Frank. University of Glasgow. Accessed 6/22/2015.
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