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Frank Patania, Sr.

Born:
Messina, Sicily, Italy 1899

Died:
Tuscon, Arizona 1964

Active in:

  • New York, New York
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico

Luce Artist Quote

“After my first sight of the West, I never wanted to return east again. And when I saw what the Indians were doing with silver and turquoise I knew I had found the medium in which I wanted to design.” Frank Patania Sr.


Luce Artist Biography

Frank Patania Sr. immigrated to New York City in 1908. Child labor laws kept the young man from working as a craftsman, but after World War I he was old enough to be hired as a designer for an important jewelry firm. In 1924 he contracted tuberculosis, and the firm sent him to a sanatorium in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Patania was seduced by the active art colony and healthy climate, and chose to remain in the Southwest even after his health improved. His work reflects both his European training and his exposure to Pueblo and Navajo jewelry. His son, Frank Patania Jr., and grandson, Samuel Frank Patania, are also represented in the Luce Center.