Settling in last night on the sofa to catch the first couple of episodes of Grace And Frankie Season Three, I ended up grabbing my phone to Google the identity of the real life artist responsible for the paintings that are almost a character themselves in episode one.
Titled, The Art Show, the season premier brings together all the major characters at a gallery that is showing a lifetime retrospect of Frankie’s (brilliantly played by Lily Tomlin) paintings. Everyone’s emotions run high, and the inevitable comedy unfolds naturally. Tomlin’s Frankie is overwhelmed with self-doubt and jitters about her gallery show, where most of this episode takes place. Grace (Jane Fonda) uses the event to prove to their families just how terrific the two gals are doing with the success of their new business venture. But, in truth, Grace and Frankie are unable to get a loan from any bank for the seed money for “Vybrant”, their sex-toys-for-older-women company. Grace And Frankie always has something bright and barbed to say about sexism and ageism in our society. Plus, this episode opens with Tomlin and a chorus of dancing dildos on the beach!
The Husband and I continued to remark how much we admired the paintings that stood-in for Frankie’s work, with my spouse suggesting that they deserved a special Emmy Award. I discovered that they are by Chicago artist Nancy Rosen, who has provided all the paintings (many in mid-process) for the character of Frankie on the series. She is an artist and a painting teacher with a studio attached to the two lead’s Southern California beach house.
On Rosen’s thoughtful website, she states: “I am Frankie’s art!”
“So, one day I get a phone call from my husband telling me to call our old family friend who is one of the Executive Producers, looking for an artist to be Frankie’s work. I sent my work out there and was selected from a group of artists they had rounded up. I shared my website and they picked some paintings along with items from my studio, like oil bar scraps, my Aunt Faye’s stool, palette knives, brushes, containers. I like seeing those little objects around the show.”
Like Frankie, Rosen is both a painter and a teacher. She has a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums and exhibits across the country, including: Kansas City Art Coalition, Elmhurst Museum, Milliken University, and the Illinois Art Institute.
Grace And Frankie co-creator Marta Kauffman has one of Rosen’s paintings hanging in her office after it was featured on the series. Kauffman:
“There was something. I just saw it and I said, ‘Oh my God, this is it. This is exactly what I want it to be. It’s quirky. It’s bold. It’s many things. And then when something like that happens and it just starts to fit, it just explodes. You can’t go back.”
Rosen had to provide a lot of pieces for Frankie’s big show. She used existing work, but Rosen also provided new paintings just for the series like poodles, vaginas, plus Fonda as a vampire. She even appears as an extra on The Art Show episode:
“It was a really funny experience to stand there for four days and get paid to look at my own artwork.”
Netflix announced yesterday that Grace And Frankie will be back for a fourth season with Fonda, Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, along with all the gang, plus, the producers will be adding Friends alumni Lisa Kudrow to the mix. Now, that’s good news for fans of the show!