Update on the Frazetta heist: Notary says artist gave son permission to take paintings

Here's an update on the arrest of Frank Frazetta's son, who was charged with swiping at least $20 million of his father's paintings last week. The story has a few twists and turns, as you might imagine in a case in which an adult child has been accused of ripping off his own parent.

The details are fuzzy, but it sounds like Frazetta's adult children are fighting over the art created by their father, who is 81 years old and has dementia. Three of his children apparently want to sell the paintings (one painting recently went for $1 million, and it wasn't even one of Frazetta's most famous works) while Frank Jr. apparently doesn't want to sell them off, and that's why he broke into the family museum to take the paintings.

Heidi MacDonald of The Beat adds this important bit:

The REAL bombshell, however, comes from a notary who says that Frank Frazetta Sr. came to her nine days before the aborted heist and asked her to notarize a power of attorney removing control of the art from Bill, Heidi and Holly and giving it to Frank Jr! “He was in the right frame of mind,” said the notary.
Frazetta Heist update: Notary drops bombshell


  1. ‘he said she said’ always difficult and nebulous, facts can be too. but fact that this cultural legacy cannot become lost. but then preserving Frazetta’s work means more ‘ownership’ issues too, worth it to keep legacy. “stolen art has no value”-Frank Jr. art has value, public needs culture. all your stolen art belong to us(we are our own alien overlordsand we are killing ourselves by ownership of art, DNA, ideas) take back all your own selves’ cultures and give them back to yourselveses

  2. May I just say how grateful I am that my job doesn’t require me to wear a lip-strap to keep my hat on.

  3. It’s always said an artist’s works are more valuable after he’s dead.

    With Frazetta who’ll pass away any time soon now there will be a rush to buy/sell his artwork when he passes. Therefore, the need to have it in one’s posession is the highest, for if it sits in a court ordered lockup for years, it’ll still be valuable, but won’t fetch “Recession Buster” prices. The book companies will simply absorb more of the wind from the sales, but the original paintings will be back down to a reasonable but not high price, celebrity considered.

    It should not EVER be the hired caregiver/professional who can be put in the will for any reason. This screams “Conflict of Interest”. Even if Fraz willingly axed out his kids, they are still his kids. His children, starting with his eldest son should have the “Birthright”.

    1. “His childrenstarting with his eldest son should have the ‘Birthright’.”

      Really? I’m more of the mind that all children, regardless of order or sex, should have equal say/rights.

  4. I’m keeping this anon for what will be obvious reasons, but I’ve done exactly the same thing, abet one painting with not a LOT of value. My grandmother’s boyfriend (who was my ‘grandfather’ for 28 years, and invited to both my christening and wedding) had a lovely painting of himself from the war, done by a dutch artist of the commanders of the liberating forces.
    He was generally estranged from his family and children, and after he passed away I heard from his daughter how much she hated that ol’ painting and how she planned on selling it. I on the other hand loved it for it’s history and for the person in it.

    So it ‘vanished’ in the packing of my grandfather’s stuff and resides beside my desk as I type now. Not legal, but possibly right. I have never had a quam of conscience about the matter either.

    1. *slaps her forhead* apparently I was still signed in.. epic win!

      Ah well, if I’m hunted down over this painting so be it.

      1. BB will do that to ya’. For some reason it gives you the anonymous option w/capcha but when you hit submit, it signs you in and posts under your user name. D’oh!

  5. Frank Frazetta created an amazing body of work. Because of the wide print distribution, his work is well known. And he was able to make a good living selling cover art, prints and art books while retaining the originals. I would find a Frazetta museum valuable.

    Frank Frazetta’s paintings belong to him.

    The paintings are his. They do not belong to any of his children unless he gave them to them. Clearly that is not the case.

    Dementia complicates things, that’s why you can get a Power of Attorney. Presumably the three younger children who had the power of Attorney appear to have charge of his museum. And Frank Sr. is not happy these children want to sell his work off.

    Frank Sr. has been a very successful artist for around 40 years that I know of. If he wanted to sell his originals he would have sold his originals. Building himself a museum to hold them indicates pretty clearly that he did NOT want to sell them.

    Which would be a good reason for Frank Sr. to revoke your power of attorney in favor of the kid who doesn’t want to sell. Go Frank Jr.

    Even after Frank Sr. dies, it is STILL his decision who gets the paintings. Why should adult children be entitled to their parents’ worldly goods? That’s why we have wills.

    Maybe the kids who can’t wait for their father to die before selling off his works might consider making their own art instead of living off Daddy’s.

    1. Maybe the kids who can’t wait for their father to die before selling off his works might consider making their own art instead of living off Daddy’s.

      That idea’s more fantasy-based than his paintings.

    2. This is precisely what I was going to say. If you know ANYTHING about Frazetta’s work, and more importantly, about the man himself, you know he is deeply opposed to selling off his works. That is why the Frazetta museum exists and why his most famous works, which could fetch hundreds of thousands if not millions apiece, are still in his possession.

      Even if Frank Jr. did not have the expressed consent of his father, he was certainly acting in the spirit in which Frank Sr. has lived his life.

  6. I remember in the 70’s there was a well known Toronto artist who was told that one of his paintings was hanging in a bank. He got on his motorcycle and went over and took it off the wall and took it home.

  7. I’m an artist and it sickens me that an artist’s heirs can live off his work without adding anything on their own, it sickens me when children “add” to their father’s body of work posthumously (I’m looking at Tolkien and Herbert’s sons here). It sickens me that a family can control an intellectual property in perpetuity if they continue to publish it (I’m looking at the family of former TSR head Loarraine Williams, and their ownership of Buck Rogers). People like Lovecraft had the right idea, let your work pass into the public domain upon your death, my will will provide for my niece and spouse, and let most of my IP pass into the public domain, this shit is just sick.

    1. I’m looking at Tolkien and Herbert’s sons here

      Who! Whoa! Whoa! Admittedly, Brian Herbert has mutilated his own father’s corpse and spewed the resultant fetid literary paste on legions of disappointed fans. But Christopher Tolkien’s publication of his father’s edited and annotated works are a legitimate and highly valued contribution.

  8. I say “Go, Frank Jr!” too. I visited the museum in the Poconos a few years ago and met Ellie. That place is a treasure. It’s rotten those kids want to take what their parents built and rip it apart like that.

  9. One of my aunts recently told me a story from when she did something similar. Her great-aunt was recently deceased, and she overheard the relative who inherited the house tell someone how they were going to throw out a lovely small painting (a cheap reproduction) that she adored as a child. So while helping to clear out her great-aunt’s possessions from the house she simply took it home. She still has it to this day and no one ever missed the painting.

    The hitch here of course is that Frazetta’s paintings are worth quite a lot when compared to the reproduction from my story.

  10. It should not EVER be the hired caregiver/professional who can be put in the will for any reason.

    This is problematic.

    My mother was a caregiver. She took care of (among others) an elderly disabled man who subsequently married her, in order to provide for her after his death. I don’t think Mom was a gold-digger: she genuinely loved and cared for the people who care she provided; and the old man seemed genuinely grateful to her. (It wasn’t a sex thing: he was disabled and probably disinterested.)

    To the old man’s daughter, however, Mom was an interloper. I got the impression that the daughter wasn’t a very nice person and didn’t much care for the old man, but I only met the daughter once so I can’t pass judgment.

    If someone argued that Mom was a gold-digger … well, I couldn’t prove that she wasn’t. To me, though, she was a saint who cared for the needy. (She also took in stray animals, and, later, homeless people.) I suppose that it’s a point-of-view problem that can’t be solved for a fact.

    Nonetheless, greengestalt makes a valid point: caregivers are in a position to abuse their wards. (In another case, Mom was caretaking for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. The woman’s daughter asked Mom to kill the old lady, in order to save on nursing home costs. Mom tried going to the law, and took other measures to defend the patient; the daughter fired her. But I suppose some caregivers might use the pillow and take the money ….)

  11. Here Here Laurel.
    Your comment “Even if Frank Jr. did not have the expressed consent of his father, he was certainly acting in the spirit in which Frank Sr. has lived his life.” is perfect.
    I know Frank Jr. and all the Frazettas. This is certainly an ugly chapter in the lives of a family that I called “A True American Success Story” at the Grand Opening of the Museum back in 2001. Ellie has to be flipping and twirling in her grave. I think now that the Notary has shown that Frank Senior wishes Frank Junior control, maybe they can settle down again and be a family. That Museum was built by Ellie and Frank Sr. to house those paintings forever.
    My prayers are with them to do the right thing.
    And Frank Jr. , I’d love to buy you a beer.
    Steve Ferris

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