Word has gone out all over the wire and aether that Alfonso Frank Frazetta, generally called by his family, “Frank Jr.”, broke into the Frank Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon with the aid of a backhoe and two accomplices. He attempted to remove about ninety paintings insured for twenty million dollars before being apprehended by Pennsylvania State Police. The most up-to-date account can be found at the Pocono Record website.
Frank Jr. is the son of Frank Frazetta, the legendary artist. Last month, as reported by TC, one of Frazetta’s paintings was auctioned to a private collector for one million dollars. At the time, your humble blogger thought it all a bit unusual, and wondered if it was somehow connected to the death of Frank’s wife, Ellie. Ellie Frazetta had been the guiding hand and driving force behind much of Frank Frazetta’s commercial success over the last thirty years. It was Eleanor Frazetta who started the very profitable Frazetta mail-order business and was also the one who pushed the Frazetta Museum project to its final completion.
This is a very tangled situation and may not be exactly as it appears.
According to some sources, Frank Jr. did have permission to remove the paintings. Permission signed by Frank Sr. and thereupon notarized. If that is the case, then Frank Jr. may have been simply carrying out his father’s wishes and attempting to save Frank Sr.’s artistic legacy from the rest of the family who wants to sell it off.
Reportedly, Ellie Frazetta’s will cannot be found. Frank Sr. is still the legal owner of the Frazetta Museum and the art therein.* H0wever, Mr. Frazetta has suffered several strokes in recent years. The word is that perhaps the other Frazetta children will have him declared incompetent and then liquidate the art treasures contained within the Frazetta Museum.
Heidi MacDonald, most excellent news blogger for Publisher’s Weekly, provides even more insights on the Frazetta legal situation here.
This is a horrible situation no matter what eventually turns out. My sympathies go out to the entire Frazetta family.
*DEUCE ADDS: It later turned out that Frank Sr. does not retain ownership or control of his artwork, that having been transferred to a limited liability company directed by three of his children. Frank Jr. is a beneficiary, but not on the board of directors.
The TC write-up detailing the preliminary hearing for Frank Jr. can be found here.