Canton, Ohio: Mercy Development Foundation recently held a blessing and dedication ceremony and reception in honor of Frank Dale, 82, a Massillon artist, art instructor and poet who donated his reproduction of 19th-century painter William Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels to Mercy. Many of his local students attended the event.
Dale, a graduate of the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), underwent open heart surgery at Mercy in 2002. During his recovery, a magazine cover featuring Bouguereau’s artwork – a depiction of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus as a baby while angels play music around them – caught his eye. Dale says he envisioned the painting hanging at Mercy as a symbol of the care the hospital provides. Thirteen years later, his vision became a reality. Dale’s meticulous reproduction now hangs by the entrance to the Mercy Chapel, located near the hospital’s administrative offices.
“It means the world to me to have this painting at Mercy,” he says. “When I woke up from my heart surgery, I felt as helpless as a baby, yet surrounded by the ‘angels of Mercy.’ God bless angels and nurses.”
During his remarks at the event, Tom Cecconi, president and CEO of Mercy, expressed his appreciation of Dale’s talent and his kindness in donating a treasured piece of art that took more than 60 hours to complete.
“As a Catholic health-care provider with a longstanding mission to continue Christ’s healing ministry through quality, compassionate care, we at Mercy strive to leave this kind of lasting, positive impression on all our patients,” says Cecconi. “It’s an honor for us when a patient wants to give back, and we are pleased to display Frank’s exquisite painting for all to see. I hope patients, families and staff members will be touched by its beauty.”
At a young age, Dale became fascinated by the work of Dutch and Italian master painters like Vermeer, Rubens and Rembrandt. Hallmarks of their paintings included a deep, glossy surface and rich, glowing colors. However, during his many years of training, Dale could not find a teacher who was able to show him these techniques. In 1998, after retiring at age 75 from Superior’s Brand Meats in Massillon, he decided to teach himself, experimenting with Renaissance painting materials and ancient recipes for painting mediums.
Today, Dale is regarded as an authority on the Flemish Technique, which is patterned after the work of Jan Van Eyck, a celebrated 15th-century painter from the diocese of Liège, now part of modern-day Belgium. Dale’s work has been displayed at the Canton Museum of Art, and he offers private painting lessons seven days a week in his Massillon studio. His expertise is also attracting artists from surrounding states who want to learn the Flemish Technique. His book, Art – A Search for Beauty: a Guide to Classical Painting Based on the Flemish Technique, provides extensive information about this method of painting.
To learn more about Mercy Medical Center, visit cantonmercy.org/about.
Photo caption: Massillon artist, art instructor and poet Frank Dale holds a copy of the magazine that inspired him to paint his reproduction of 19th-century painter William Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels. Dale donated the painting to Mercy Development Foundation in appreciation of the care he received during his open heart surgery in 2002.Please click here for media inquiries