When the Crossroads staff learned of the passing of painter and art historian Francis McGinley, our Program Manager, Kate Brindle, was inspired to share her thoughts about this gifted artist.
Frank was an amazing artist, historian and man, whose talent knew no bounds. It was truly an honor to know him. His ability to tell the stories of America’s most historic moments through art was truly unique. Crossroads and those in the history field were lucky to have had someone like him advocating for the preservation of history and his life-long contributions to the arts and history communities will endure for years to come.
Frank’s way of preserving history was through his art. He was a prolific painter whose passion for telling America’s past won him numerous awards and acknowledgements both nationally and internationally. From having artwork hung in the museum in West Point Military Academy, to presenting a lithograph to President Ronald Reagan, to being the only American to ever have a painting made into an official postage stamp in Israel, Frank’s legacy reminds us that history, whether it be good or bad, must be remembered. It is important to tell those stories and remind people of the past, of the struggles for independence and the sacrifices many Americans made in the belief that others deserved to know that freedom as well. Frank’s hundreds of paintings truly show the depth of his passion.
His book, Let Us Never Forget, highlighted just how important this concept was to him. His book depicted various aspects of World War II and the Holocaust, a time many would like to forget. But to forget is to erase the memory of those that made the ultimate sacrifice. His art illustrates accounts of what happened in a way that can be understood universally. In addition to his own book, he also contributed extensive artwork to Donald Johnstone Peck’s book, An American Journey of Hope.
(For more about Frank McGinley, in his own words, read a transcript of the oral history he shared with Rutgers historians in 2010.)