Celluloid and Canvas - Frank Sinatra

January 04, 2010



Most people are already aware that Frank Sinatra was quite the talented individual -- he is widely considered one of the finest entertainers of the 20th century, perhaps the best singer of our time and an accomplished, Oscar winning actor. But few know that he was also a very able painter.

As someone who paints and draws for a living, I've always been interested in the painter side of Frank Sinatra. I was delighted a few years ago when I found a copy of the 1991 book "A Man and His Art" by Tina Sinatra. The book features glimpses into Sinatra's art studio and more importantly it showcases oodles of his paintings in full-color, gallery layouts.

While his singing style was quite traditional, and a good portion of his songs were already American standards by the time he interpreted them, his painting style is much more cutting edge and modern. Obviously inspired by artists like Mark Rothko and Josef Albers, Sinatra's portfolio consists mainly of large abstract pieces with huge brush strokes and geometric patterns. While I've included three of those pieces, I found his representational works displayed his talent even more, so I chose two of those to include in the post as well.

As Tina Sinatra wrote in the introduction to the book, "I don't think anybody can have as much talent as my father and not have several forms of expression. That kind of talent is like a constant flame."









All paintings and photos in this post are © the Sinatra family,
scanned by me from the book A Man and His Art.

12 comments:

Tom said...

I didn't know that he painted. Great post!

Sarah said...

This is so weird! I was just reading a section in Bogdanovich's book about Frank Sinatra last night. He mentioned that Sinatra loved to paint- I was disappointed when the book didn't show any of Sinatra's work and had made a note to myself to check out if there was any featured pieces online and here was your blog...
Thanks!!!!

Raquelle said...

Kate - I sent your post to my beau Carlos. He's a big Sinatra fan (not as big as you but he thinks Sinatra is ultra cool) and I don't think he knew that Sinatra was a painter. I didn't know that either. Thanks for this!

Lolita said...

I like the one in the middle - it's kind of scary! Thank you for sharing this :)

KC said...

I love the contrast of the black and white against that burnt orange in the third pic. He had quite the eye for color!

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

I never knew this! And I've been a Sinatra fan for years!

I guess we can add Frank to the ridiculously talented people like Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, and Tony Curtis all of who were/are accomplished artists in more than one field.

It's a crime how talent is unfairly distributed. ;)

Harley said...

Excellent as usual!

Wow, I always learn something new over here. And that is such an amazing quote, and definitely makes more sense when we're talking about a talent like Frank Sinatra.

I agree with C.K. It really is unfair!

Those paintings really are marvelous, there's such a depth to them.

Thanks again for sharing Kate!

Millie said...

Oooh, I'd never seen many of these paintings! Super-cool!

Have you ever seen the episode of Dick Van Dyke, where he and Laura accidentally buy a Sinatra painting at an auction, but not knowing it's a Sinatra they end up destroying it! It's HILARIOUS!

Sarah said...

I never knew he painted! You're so right about him being a traditional singer and painting these abstract, modern things! SO cool! :D

Mercurie said...

I had heard he'd painted, but never got to see any of Sinatra's paintings. Wow, he was talented in that medium too!

Sally said...

That is so cool! Great post! I had no idea he painted!

alex centrella said...

FANTASTIC PERSON !