Organizations* : AAA, AOA, CAA, NAWA, NWR
One of the best-known painters of western subjects in the late 20th century, Frank McCarthy is highly regarded for his detailed depictions of plains Indians in action. From illustrations to fine art, McCarthy painted for over forty years. In both fields of endeavor, illustration and fine art, he achieved top rank recognition. A popular motif of his was high-speed action, especially stampeding buffalo.
McCarthy was born in New York City and spent the first twenty-one years of his career as an illustrator for major magazines including Colliers, Argosy and True, for paperback book publishers and motion picture studios. His natural talent was enhanced through studies at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute. Deciding to change to fine art, McCarthy moved from an award-winning career as a commercial illustrator to the creation of historical Western art.
In 1973, he had his first major exhibition of his work, a show of twenty-three canvases, in Scottsdale, Arizona. It sold out in twenty minutes. This success caused him to make a total commitment to fine art, and he moved from New York to Arizona. McCarthy was a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group and exhibited with the National Academy of Western Art at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1975, he was elected a member of the Cowboy Artists of America. In 1997, he was indicted into the Illustrators Hall of Fame. In 1998, tired of deadlines in both his illustration and fine art careers, he resigned from the Cowboy Artists of America.
McCarthy has been honored with four retrospectives at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas; in Shreveport, Louisiana; the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Cowboy Artists of America in Kerrville, Texas. In addition to being well known for his original artworks, McCarthy has established and maintained a national profile with the publication of five books about his art and over 100 of his paintings being reproduced as limited edition prints.