Rose Frantzen’s Portrait of Maquoketa at Figge Art Museum Print
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Susan Horan   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 09:24

Davenport, Iowa (October 2012) — The Figge Art Museum is please to announce that on October 27, 2012 the museum will open a new installation of Rose Frantzen’s nationally celebrated Portrait of Maquoketa exhibition.  The new, multi-dimensional installation, entitled Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View, will include 180 portraits of Maquoketans and a 240 square foot landscape view of Maquoketa. Major funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Riverboat Development Authority, USBank, Dr. Ralph and Jennifer Saintfort and SSAB.

From July 2005 to July 2006, Rose Frantzen democratized portraiture, inviting anyone in her hometown of Maquoketa, Iowa to sit for a portrait painted from life. All 180 oil painting portraits that Frantzen created were displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery from November 6, 2009 through July 5, 2010.  The portraits were accompanied by a narrative sound composition created by Rose’s brother, John Frantzen featuring the voices of those who posed speaking about their lives and about Maquoketa.  The 12x12” head and shoulders portraits were each painted in a four or five hour sitting in a storefront on Main St. that was open to the public.  “I wanted to bring to my community a tangible connection with the creative process,” says Frantzen.  “By making them the subject, I hoped that their interest would be stirred and that they would be touched somehow by what painting can reveal about the human experience.”  With ages ranging from 4 days old to 99 years old, Frantzen captured a beautiful and moving cross-section portrait of her town.

For the Figge Art Museum installation of Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View, Frantzen is painting a 240 square foot landscape view of Maquoketa from the hills outside town that is broken up on 34 vertical panels suspended from the ceiling.  The other side of each panels acts as a frame for the portraits.  When visitors sit at one end of the exhibition all the sections of the landscape come together and align as one.  From this vantage point, visitors will hear a second voice and music piece composed by John Frantzen.  Press ready images of Ms. Frantzen painting the landscape are available online (  The portraits, the landscape, and the voice/music compositions were funded in part by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.  The Ceres Trust sponsored the Smithsonian exhibition.

“Although Portrait of Maquoketa has gone places I never imagined,” says Rose, “I have felt from the start a desire to set the portrait of the town into a larger framework, namely the landscape - showing this community nestled within the Iowan countryside.  The opportunity to show in the beautiful and expansive third floor gallery of the Figge compelled me to realize my initial vision.”  The new three-dimensional installation was conceived and designed by Rose in collaboration with her husband, artist Charles Morris, who mapped out the enlargement of Rose’s landscape onto panels that vary in size from three and a half feet tall to over ten feet tall.  The original landscape, which Rose painted on location in the early spring of this year, is transformed to fill a 90 degree view with 30 feet in depth.

Frantzen and Morris are part of a resurgence in Regionalism in Eastern Iowa and are exclusively represented by a gallery that is run by Rose’s parents in the Old City Hall of Maquoketa. features their work, provides further details on the Portrait of Maquoketa project, and offers the hardcover Portrait of Maquoketa book.

The Figge Art Museum exhibition, which runs from October 27th, 2012 to January 20th, 2013 will include a lecture and slideshow by Frantzen at 7pm on November 1st and a portrait painting demonstration by Frantzen on Saturday, November 3rd from 12:30 to 4:30pm.

Rose Frantzen Biographical Information: A native of Maquoketa, Iowa, Rose Frantzen has gained national and international acclaim for her oil paintings from life that bring contemporary and innovative perspectives to a traditional alla prima approach.  In addition to landscapes, still lifes, and figurative works, Frantzen often moves to the allegorical, including abstract or surreal settings that present the subject as an archetypal character seen on his or her own internal stage.  For these multi-dimensional works, she incorporates diverse stylistic elements along with gilding, stained glass, and mosaic.

With a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Frantzen completed Portrait of Maquoketa, a yearlong community-oriented project in which she painted any Maquoketa residents willing to sit for a four or five hour session.  All 180 portraits completed for the project were shown at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. from November 6, 2009 to July 5, 2010.  Her work has also shown at the Butler Museum of Art, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Dubuque Museum of Art, the Denver Historical Museum, the World Food Prize, and the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition.

Frantzen is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist discussing art and the artist’s life in the 21st century at museums and national art conventions.  Her paintings have been featured in numerous national and international art magazines and journals, and she demonstrates portrait painting each year as a faculty member for the Portrait Society of America and for the annual Weekend With the Masters conference.  Frantzen is represented exclusively by Old City Hall Gallery in Maquoketa, Iowa, where she shows with her husband, Charles Morris.

Frantzen studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, the Palette & Chisel Academy with Richard Schmid, and at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, studying anatomy with the late Deane G. Keller.

About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum, formerly the Davenport Museum of Art, opened August 6, 2005. The award-winning building designed by architect David Chipperfield holds a collection of approximately 3,500 works that reflect artistic styles and developments from the Renaissance to contemporary art, with particular strengths in American Regionalist, Mexican Colonial, and Haitian art.  The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, Sundays 12-5 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m.- 9p.m. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit our website,

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