If you ask anyone who knows Manuel (M.S.) Franco, they will tell you he is one of the nicest and most generous people they have ever known. Years ago, when we had a fine art publishing company, we carried his prints, and he was one of the best-selling artists we represented.
For us, Franco painted watercolors, usually scenes of Pueblo or Mexican villages and homes. But he also made sculptures and worked in other media.
His journey started in Coyame, Mexico, a small village in the Chihuahuan desert. He was born in the back seat of the only car in town on the way to the hospital. His childhood home was a stone house with no modern conveniences. He remembers those years fondly. As he says, "You don't miss what you don't have."
His father was a farmer and hunted to provide food for the family. Franco attributes his work ethic to his dad.
His mother was an artist who worked in ground glass, creating art similar to sand painting. She was also a driving force in encouraging Manuel and his siblings to pursue their education.
He graduated from the University of Chihuahua and went on to work as a mining engineer in Mexico, but he wanted to make his living as an artist. At 34 years old, he immigrated to the United States and began to work as an artist, attending art shows, making many friends who helped him along the way, and dedicating himself to his work.
He met his wife, Riva, at a show in Denver, and the two made their home in Dumas, Texas, where he became a United States citizen in 2000.
M.S. Franco has been honored by institutions and organizations in Mexico and the United States and regularly donates time and artwork to charitable causes. His peers regard him highly. As Amado Pena says, "Manny Franco…an incredible artist. A great humanitarian. Having Manny as a friend for over 30 years has been an honor."
The lovely small watercolor we are showing today came from a collection in Tucson, Arizona. It is good to have one of Franco's works in the gallery again!