Frank Wesley Indian Artist

Frank Wesley’s “Forgiving Father” is one powerful image. It’s formed from a life-size wood block and was exhibited at an exhibition at Australian Catholic University in Banyo last year. It can be found in a collection of images at the Center for South Asian Studies at University of Virginia, in their online gallery, and at the Australian EJournal of Theology.

Frank Wesley in studio

Here’s a short biography, much of it drawing on the artist background at The Word Made Visible, Permanent Art Collection of the Lutheran Center.

Frank Wesley is well known in India. His paintings were frequently reproduced as Christmas cards by the Indian Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge. Frank studied painting at the Lucknow School of Arts in Delhi. He took his graduate and post-graduate work there and eventually joined the faculty, staying for 12 years. From there he went to Kyoto, Japan to spend five years at its College of Fine Arts. From Japan, Wesley went on to the United States and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. After two years in the United States, Wesley returned to India. In 1965 he joined the Christian Association for Radio and Audio-Visual Service as a part-time staff artist. In the last part of his life he lived in Nambour, Queensland. He died in 2002.

“My main work,” said Wesley, “is to paint the Bible in our own Indian way. It is to do something for the church in the field of art.”

Wesley belongs to the Lucknow school of painting. His guru was Bireshwar Sen, one of the foremost students of the late Aribindranath Tagore (cousin of the poet), a famous artist and founder of the Bengal school of painting. Mr. Wesley’s paintings reflect this influence and that of the Chughtai school of painting that flourished in India at the turn of the century.

Naomi Wray wrote about Wesley in her book, “FRANK WESLEY : Exploring Faith With a Brush”. Auckland, New Zealand: Pace Publishing, 1989.

Geraldine Wheeler has written a ‘catalogue essay’ at the Australian EJournal of Theology. Lindsay Farrell has written meditations on Frank Wesley’s “Forgiving Father”.

25 thoughts on “Frank Wesley Indian Artist

  1. cheryl lawrie

    i did a powerpoint meditation on this image a couple of years ago. i’ll send you a copy if you like.

    Are you going to the future church conference in NZ in October?

    cheryl

    Reply
  2. Craig

    I was about to post that cheryl wrote an excellent meditation on this, but she’s already told you that! If she had a blog it might be “out there” already.

    Reply
  3. ruth

    I first saw this picture in the meditation room of the hospital where I started my nursing career and again I saw it on the cover of a devotional book at my new job here in Chicago at the Rehabilitation Institute. I appreciate your website and will order a print from the website you mentioned. Thank you so much. I am very inspired by the painting. Best wishes, Ruth

    Reply
  4. Sherillyn

    I am interested in finding a print of Forgiving Father. Do you have any information. I too am very moved by this particular piece.

    Reply
  5. Carol Nelson

    I recently found “Frank Wesley – Exploring Faith With a Brush” (Pace Pubishing 1993, Auckland 7, New Zealand) in my library. How fascinating and moving. How can one purchase one of Mr. Wesley’s prints. I am interested in Black Madonna.

    Reply
  6. Willis Ralph

    A web site of Frank Wesley’s art works has recently been set up. Purchasing of digital images of his paintings can be arranged via the web site.

    Regards,
    Willis Ralph
    (Web Master)

    Reply
    1. Henry Presler

      i am interested in purchasing the painting you have for sale.
      Contact me at [email protected] or
      tele:704.516.4091

      Reply
  7. Sanjeeth Peter

    Frank Wesley’s art is fascinating and inspiring. I am a Cardiac Surgeon working in a Mission Hospital in India. I want to take a meditation of the forgiving father at our hospital bible study group. I have a book of his art and intend to ask for a reprint of some paintings through the website. Was wondering if I could get a copy of Cheryl’s meditation. Needless to say – it will be acknowledged if used. Thank you.

    Reply
  8. serge

    have a original painting of Frank Wesley., and i wouldike to sell it , do you know anyone interrested?
    thank you serge

    Reply
  9. Uttam Singh

    I had the honour of meeting late Frank Wesley in my childhood at his birthplace Azamgarh where two of his brothers late Mr. William Wesley and late Mr. A. Wesley lived. Mr. William’s children were my friend. Whenever Frank Wesley visited India, we used to call him ‘Babu uncle’. ‘Babu’ was his nickname. A very simple and jolly man he was. When I grew old, only then I understood what a great artist ‘babu uncle’ was. May his soul rest in peace. He has done a great work.

    Reply
  10. rajakumar s

    this is wonderful work piece for frank wesley this portrait reveals the true love form father to son actually i won this picture for more then ten years and i missed it by giving to my cousin for making it bigger picture now i know the value of this painting but its too late

    Reply
  11. Judith Peele

    Hi, I’m not sure who to reach out to. It appears I’ve obtained some original artwork from Frank Wesley. These were created in 1972 and I would love to have them validated. Is there someone I can reach out to?
    Please advise.

    Reply
  12. Henry Presler

    Reply to Serge’s posts: Dear Serge,
    I would be most interested in purchasing the
    Frank Wesley painting you have for sale.
    Please make contact with me by email at
    [email protected]
    With best regards, Henry Presler

    Reply
  13. ken Parmelee

    I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Azamgarh almost 50 years ago. Ellen Wesley was my friend. She said to me one day my brother Frank is coming home I want you to meet him. I did and I showed him some antiquities I had acquired. He said let’s go to the “lumber wallah” and make you appropriate stands for them. We spent the afternoon together and he carved the stands for my pieces. Since my pieces are antiques the stands are beautiful yet mirror the slightly rough pieces of wood. Frank searched for hours all the wood to find just the correct piece to match my pieces.
    I still have them, they are my treasure.
    He was so modest he said only some of my paintings have been used on UNICEF Christmas cards.

    Reply
  14. Marlin Schoonmaker

    Interested in purchasing original Frank Wesley art work. Contact at [email protected]

    Reply
  15. T. S. Erwin

    I have 3 original Frank Wesley wood cut art works. Iam looking to find a home for them. If anyone could help me find what the value of them are I would be willing to work on a price and let them go separately or as a set.

    Reply

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