Visionaries: Trudi Frank

Trudi Frank
Trudi Frank

When Trudi Frank fled Nazi Germany with her family in the late 1930s, she could not have foreseen the distinguished career she would go on to enjoy in America. Nor could she have foreseen the loss, much later in life, of so many friends to AIDS.

Once established in the U.S., Trudi’s interest in art flourished and she studied under William Stanton Wright at UCLA and Dong Kingman at Columbia. In New York, where she married Rudi Frank, she first worked as a fashion illustrator for major department stores. During a subsequent career of more than 50 years, her work was featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. Her watercolors are now held in major corporate, public, and private collections.

At the age of 80, Trudi Frank died in Positano, Italy, where a show of her work was taking place. amfAR was named as the beneficiary of a significant portion of her estate.  

Under her will, amfAR and the Hospital for Special Surgery shared the proceeds of her Manhattan co-op, various investments, and a collection of art. 

Tulips and Modigliani is one of the watercolor paintings amfAR received from the estate of Trudi Frank.
Tulips and Modigliani is one of the watercolor paintings amfAR received from the estate of Trudi Frank.

“Trudi was an active supporter of deeply felt humanitarian causes,” said Barbara Kolsun, Ms. Frank’s close friend and estate executor. “In particular, she had a house in Fire Island Pines, where she witnessed the loss of dear friends to AIDS. Her gift to amfAR reflects her profound awareness of the consequences of the AIDS epidemic and her wish to advance the research that will bring the end of the devastation caused by the epidemic.”  

Ms. Frank’s generosity will help amfAR advance and expand a range of innovative and important research projects. A Trudi Frank Memorial Research Grant has been named in her honor. 

“Gifts both large and small from hundreds of estates and related trusts have been an invaluable source of support for amfAR’s work,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “We’re deeply grateful to Trudi Frank and to all whose generous legacies have made our work possible.” 

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