Franklin McMahon: The Chicago artist who captured history | Bleader

Franklin McMahon: The Chicago artist who captured history

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Trial of Emmett Tills Killers

Artist Franklin McMahon, who documented American political process throughout the second half of the 20th century, died March 3, at the age of 90. Born in Oak Park, and a longtime resident of Lake Forest, McMahon was a B-17 navigator, shot down over Germany in World War II. He studied on the GI Bill at the Chicago Academy of Art, the American Academy of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and rose to national attention in 1955, when Life magazine assigned him to cover the infamous trial of Emmett Till's murderers. His vivid, rapidly rendered charcoal drawings and paintings captured everything, but especially, the civil rights movement, the Catholic church, and Chicago history—on the streets, as it was happening.

McMahon's work is included in the collections of the Chicago History Museum and the Library of Congress.

A funeral mass is scheduled for 10 AM Saturday, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 991 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest.

See a slideshow of some of McMahon's work.

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