Oral History Interview with Gilbert (Gil) Franklin, March 18, 1996

Oral History Interview with Gilbert (Gil) Franklin, March 18, 1996


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Interview of Gilbert (Gil) Franklin, conducted by Jack Massey at the Virginia Lynch Gallery in Tiverton, RI on March 18, 1996 for the RISD Oral History Project. Franklin speaks of his time in the Sculpture department at RISD, as both a student and a professor, along with other departments which were forming such as the Ceramics, Glass, and Photography departments. Franklin also recalls his time at the American Academy in Rome and the beginnings of the RISD European Honors Program.

Biographical/Historical Note

Gilbert (Gil) Franklin (1919-2004) was a sculptor who served as Professor of Sculpture, and Chairman and Dean of the Division of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. After attending an evening course in drawing with a RISD instructor during high school, Franklin was encouraged to attend the school before continuing his studies at the Museo Nacional in Mexico City and the American Academy in Rome. Franklin was named an H.M. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts at RISD.

Franklin is interviewed by Jack Massey, who taught at RISD for 50 years. Massey founded the Carr Haus gallery and played a key role in the restoration of RISD’s Woods-Gerry Mansion. He aided in the establishment of RISD’s European Honors Program in Rome and served as the program’s Chief Critic. The interview takes place on March 18, 1996. Produced by Frank Muhly.

Oral History Interview with Gilbert (Gil) Franklin, March 18, 1996



Date of Interview



John (Jack) L. Massey


Gilbert (Gil) Franklin



Run Time

40 min.

Original Format(s)



John Howard Benson, Waldemar Raemisch, Sculpture, GI, John Frazier, Ceramics, Photography, Randolph Wardell Johnston, Metcalf Hall, Glass, Dale Chihuly, Norm Schulman, Rome, Italy, Nicci Foundry, European Honors Program, Frank Deignan, Tap Room, David Byrne