Frank Applegate

American 1881 -1931


Born in Atlanta, Illinois, Frank Applegate was an art teacher and accomplished sculptor and painter, doing many Indian subjects in New Mexico.

He was a student of Frank Forrest Frederick at the University of Illinois in 1906 and for two years of Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he also exhibited watercolors.  He had further study in Paris at the Julian Academy under Charles Verlet.

From 1908 to 1920, he taught and headed the department of sculpture, modeling and ceramics at the Trenton, New Jersey Industrial Art School.  He then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he gained much respect as a painter, sculptor, and ceramist. 

He first made the trip to New Mexico in 1921 when he took his family to see the famous Santa Fe Fiesta.  He was so taken with the environment, that he moved there and became an adviser in matters related to Indian culture.  He asserted that Indian crafts and Penitente carvings should be treated as collector's items and not just curios. Ultimately he turned to painting to record Indian life.

He lived on Camino del Monte Sol among a line of pueblo huts inhabited by other artists who called themselves "Los Cinto Pintores."  Other members of that group were Fremont Ellis, Will Shuster, Walter Mruk, Josef Bakos, and Willard Nash.  Applegate was close to these men and also backed some of them financially. 

He was an exhibiting member of the New Mexico Painters Society, and in 1929, wrote and illustrated Indian Stories from the Pueblos, subject matter with which he was familiar from working closely with the Hopi Indians of Arizona, with whom he developed a new formula for making pottery from the few remaining clay deposits.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, "The Illustratred Encyclopedia of the American West
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West