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Jack and Franklin

Jack and Franklin

This is a photo of Franklin and myself at Fire Island (off-season (obviously). He came out to stay with me on a regular basis both summer and fall. Now when I am there I miss his presence.

I met Franklin and Michael Maslansky in 1956 (?) at the San Remo bar. They were both just out of high school.But, he was in his teens.

We spent a lot of time together, I visited him at New port when he and Michael were doing summer theatre and there were times that he stayed with me between apartments.

More recently, since I have a car, when he was living in the houseboat in Jersey City, I was the designated driver to bring him kerosene for his stove. But eventually that plastic sided craft became too cold and in January/February he came and stayed with me. This would have been 8 years ago or so.

He was very broken up at the death of Carolyn (Brady) and I, an artist and great admirer of her work shared that grief. He often mentioned  Barbara and Ray Stevens, but Franklin liked to keep his friends separate and it was rare that he would introduce one to the other. I knew Abigail and Tony from Westbeth and so it was “OK” that Franklin and I went together to visit them at Oak Beach.

When he lived in the various houses that Abigail was buying in Harlem I would move him. When he finally settled in her coop on Broadhurst I helped him there. Whatever brother John was thinking I don’t know. When I asked about Franklin’s things in the apartment he simply said he left everything for Abigail to deal with. They had an odd relationship, Franklin and John.

For some reason I have not seen or spoken with Magda since that heartbreaking gathering at the bar which all his long time friends found appalling. But it was where he hung out the last couple of years and, as you know, Franklin was a “ladies” man, a charmer with women, a more difficult friend to men.

He and I had a rocky friendship. There are many funny stories, many not so funny. Many times when he and I would have fights and arguments. Nancy knows about that. Nancy Birickman also came to Fire Island and the three of us had a great time. Franklin came as often as he could to Fire Island -the last years.

He told me he had to go in for a minor repair just before I left for Europe in May of 2008> I was staying with friends who had no television, cell phones or email and looking forward to this I never left a contact number in New York. Magda Stull walked to my building to find me and left word with a friend about Franklin. But I did not return until weeks later.

He worked for me at the gallery which I direct and I gave him an exhibit which was quite successful of his gauze pieces. Here are two pieces that I own. From the Mask Series when he was attending Greenwich House a few years ago. He did some pottery heads and then this development. (below).

Franklin. Mask series. 2004

Franklin MacFie Mask series. 2004

And this one  piece from the Gauze Series. What happened to the rest of them I have no idea but they were stunning.

Franklin. Gauze series #1 2005

Franklin.Gauze series #1 2005

In March 0f 2006 I put together, as director, an exhibit at the Westbeth Gallery in NYC titled “Directors Choice”,of Franklin’s gauze hanging pieces. We worked out a method where they were slipped on rods and hung from simple hooks, so they hung freely in the light air that came through the windows. There was a good turn-out but not what I think Franklin had hoped for. Many of his old friends did not come. Abby did; his brother John was there with Mickey and, of course, Kate Rounds from the houseboat days at Hoboken.

He actually sold a number of pieces and to people he didn’t know which delighted him. That someone outside his crowd saw merit in what he did was, in a way, a revelation. He had been building odds and ends of structures, pieces of boats from the waterfront and so on but this was the first I had seen in all the 50 years that I knew Franklin that he devoted himself to developing a style and carrying through with it to the point the work…many, many pieces… were exhibited in a New York City gallery.



Jack Dowling Oct. 19, 2009

Franklin  1973

Franklin 1973

Franklin 1973

Franklin 1973

Franklin 1973

Franklin 1973

Fire Island July 4, 2006

July 4, 2006 Franklin, Liz and Jack at the dock on Fire Island.  Liz is an old friend of mine who was visiting on the Fourth. She had met Franklin years before on the many occasions that he stayed with me between……..well, just between. Jack

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