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About J. Franks

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

Jennifer Franks is the principal advisor for Vertu Art + Design. Franks's academic background in the history of art and design, curatorial studies, and foreign languages reflects a lifelong interest in the global exchange of art and ideas - important to the formation, not only of art collections, but also our contemporary world.  Franks's current work explores intersections of art and science in the Age of Enlightenment, with contemporary art and design projects improving the health of local to global communities.  Working from the premise that knowledge is strengthened by practice, Franks established Vertu in 2018.


Franks holds a BA in German Studies and Art History (Technische Universität Braunschweig), and a MA in Curatorial Studies and the History of Art and Design (Parsons, New York via Cooper-Hewitt National, Design Museum and the Smithsonian Institution), specialising in global exchanges of art and design (1600 - present).  She is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, scheduled to complete studies via a fellowship with Sorbonne Université and École pratique des hautes études in Paris.

Art Leadership

Franks has worked as Specialist, Researcher, Curator, and Executive Director in the performing and visual arts for leading 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.  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).

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

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