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“Life should be fun, don’t you think?”

“Life should be fun, don’t you think?”

Sarah Stanley Frantz

Sali Frantz quoted in “Sali Fills Life, Paintings; With Things That Are Fun.” The Saginaw News, December 27, 1964

If you go to the Detroit Institute of Art’s website, object number 82.250, a gouache and watercolor work titled “The Espalier Pear” [the work has an alternate title “Dusty in the Chair”], is by the creator of this week’s recipe for foolproof fudge, Sali Frantz [Sarah Stanley Frantz]. She was born in Detroit in 1893 - her grandfather was the artist John Mix Stanley. After graduating with a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan, she taught occupational therapy and did freelance landscape architectural work.

In 1918, she married Robert B. Frantz. They had met while they were studying at the University of Michigan. Robert Frantz took a position in a Saginaw architectural office and they settled in Saginaw. Although they are not well-documented, after moving to Saginaw she continued to design landscapes and gardens.

A 1970 Saginaw News article quoted an unidentified friend: “The Frantz garden [at the family home on Edgewood Road] itself was a delightful place to visit. It was the first formal garden many of us had seen outside those pictured in book.”

The 1970 newspaper article continues:

“Mrs. Frantz began painting after becoming interested in the Saginaw Artist Guild whose monthly meetings set a deadline to be met. Sali said, ‘I began working on a definite schedule. I get my ideas from everything.’ (Many of them were the result of trips to Europe, Egypt, Jamaica, Mexico or places in Michigan like their summer home at Charlevoix.) ‘Everywhere I go I see things I want to put in my paintings, but I can’t use them all – there just isn’t time or space.’

While varied in subject matter, each of her paintings tells a richly detailed story. The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History’s collection includes two of her paintings, “Early Saginaw Church with Tanbark Walk” and a untitled view of the downtown Saginaw. Both uniquely capture and interpret Saginaw history and scenes.

This link will take you to the DIA’s website and an image of “Dusty in the Chair” – We mean “The Espalier Pear.”


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