Art: Neatness & Light

Like many other architects who came out of college during the Depression, Thomas Fransioli had to live more by chance than by design. Commissions were scarce, so he tried other ventures—farming, hog butchering and painting. By 1939 he was designing exhibition rooms for Washington's new National Gallery and painting miniature Goyas and Rembrandts for his small-scale models of the rooms. During World War II, the wreckage of cities and men's lives filled Fransioli with a desire to create a neat and orderly world in painting.

Last week visitors to the Farnsworth Art Museum at...

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