Frances Ellen Coughlin (1921-2005)
Born in Oklahoma and raised in California, Frances Ellen Coughlin lived an extraordinary and adventuresome life that in many ways challenged the societal conventions bestowed on women of her time. In 1944, during World War II Frances joined the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (or WASP's)--a non-combat flying unit that would initiate a lifetime passion for flying and world travel. Shortly after the War her training as an aviator as well as her knowledge of Portuguese led to a two-year stint in Brazil as an instructor for the Brazilian Air Force.
Soon after completing her graduate work at Stanford University in 1952, Frances joined the United States Foreign Service. Her remarkable twenty-eight year career in the foreign diplomatic service took her to such far-flung posts as Buenos Aires, Rome, Lima, and Madrid. From 1969-73, Frances served as U.S. Cultural Attaché to Chile based in the capital of Santiago. It was there that she first came into contact with a dynamic cultural and intellectual circle that included such luminaries as the exiled Cuban vanguard painter Mario Carreño and the distinguished poet Pablo Neruda. Frances's friendship with Carreño who had been living in Santiago since 1957 and his wife Ida González Carreño appears to have been particularly enduring and one of great mutual respect and admiration as evidenced by the countless works by the Cuban master Frances acquired over the years many inscribed with Mario's (and at times Ida's) well wishes and affection. Well beyond her brief sojourn in Santiago, Frances continued their friendship while acquiring numerous paintings and drawings that span Carreño's brilliant production from the late 1960s through the 1980s. Indeed the present collection attests to Carreño's astounding skills as a master painter, colorists and draftsman and to the friendship of two kindred bohemian spirits spanning nearly four decades.
Christie's is delighted to present this collection of outstanding works by Mario Carreño never before published or exhibited. We are grateful to Ida González Carreño and Juan Campos Reyes from the Fundación Mario Carreño for their assistance in researching and cataloguing these works.