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About J. Franks

The French word vertu translates: 'the condition of being rare, beautiful, or otherwise appealing to a connoisseur.'

J. Franks is an art historian and advisor, specialising in visual culture of the Enlightenment and its intellectual history.  Franks's academic background in the Decorative Arts, as well as foreign languages, reflects this period’s global exchange of things and ideas - important to the formation and understanding of our contemporary world. Working from the premise that knowledge of art is strengthened by practice, Franks established Vertu Art + Design in 2018.


Franks holds a BA in German Studies and Art History (Technische Universität Braunschweig), a MA in Curatorial Studies and the History of Decorative Art and Design (Parsons, New York via Cooper-Hewitt National, Design Museum and the Smithsonian Institution), specialising in European art and design (1600 - present). She is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto.

Art Leadership

Franks has worked as Specialist / Researcher, Curator, and Executive Director for leading art organisations, such as: Christie’s (New York), The National Trust (UK), Waddesdon Manor (Rothschild Collections), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Ontario College of Art and Design, among others. Franks is also the creator and digital curator of the series ‘Collectors at Home’ on behalf of The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts / Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs.  An avid digital photographer of art, architecture, and the natural world, some of Franks's work was recently selected for an annual album of Canadian gardens presented to His Majesty King Charles III.

Recent Lectures

'Decorative Arts: Definition and Evolution' (Delegates to the United Nations); 'Complexity versus Simplicity: Historic Influences on Contemporary Art' (OCAD-University / Ontario College of Art and Design); 'Ceramics in the Digital Age' (Gardiner Museum), 'From Utility to Life: Sculptural Decorative Arts', and 'A Natural History of Artist-Collectors' (CSDA/CCAD) among others.

Photo of le musée Rodin by J. Franks, Paris, 2017

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