Franklin McMahon is the recipient of the Renaissance Prize of the Art Institute of Chicago; his work circulated by the Art Institute to museums in France and Germany. He has exhibited at The Brooklyn Museum, John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Mint Museum in Charlotte, New York Historical Society, Chicago Historical Society; The Smithsonian Institution among others; and his paintings are in the permanent collections of Borg-Warner Corporation, Time Incorporated, The State University of New York at Binghamton, The New Britain Museum of American Art, George Washington University, The University of Chicago, the Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., etc.
Recent one-man exhibitions have taken place at The Snite Museum of Art; Chicago Botanic Gardens; CNN Center, Atlanta; The Park Avenue Atrium and Kraushaar Galleries, New York; The Peace Museum, Chicago; the Selma, Alabama, Performing Arts Center, and the Benedicta Arts Center in Minnesota.
McMahon's book, This Church, These Times, includes 105 drawings and paintings made since Vatican Council II and illuminates the travels of Pope John Paul II to Mexico, Poland and the United States. Other books including his drawings and paintings: You are Promise, From The Land and Back, On The Spot Drawing, American National Government, The Constitution; and Eyewitness to Space, published by Abrams for the National Gallery of Art and NASA.
Portfolios of his works have been published by Life, Look, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Harpers, Jubilee, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, etc. 1987 drawings made in South Africa were published by Notre Dame Magazine and accompanied an article by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in U.S. Catholic Magazine. He reported on AIDS in San Francisco for the same magazine and a portfolio with words by The Dalai Lama covers the 1993 Parliament of The World's Religions.
He is producer-director of a series of documentaries in art for PBS and CBS: the 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984 presidential campaigns; The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's tour of Europe, An American City at Christmas Time, etc, resulting in three Emmys and a Peabody Award.
In 1987 McMahon traveled to Israel to produce a series of drawings: The Stations of the Cross: Jerusalem Today. These have been translated into ceramic tiles for St. Patrick's Church, Lake Forest, Illinois.
Articles on McMahon's work have been published in American Artist, North Light, CA, Gebrauschgraphik, American Way, Arts and Activities, and the Japanese magazine, Famous. He is in demand as a speaker and guest instructor: Syracuse University, Rhode Island School of Design, Smithsonian Institution, etc. He was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York, an honorary member of the American Center for Design; has received honorary degrees from Lake Forest College and Loyola University of Chicago. His "Reporting from Around The World" was featured in Watercolor,1994 by American Artist.
Works accompanying travel articles by Irene McMahon: Egypt; Brazil; Peru; the Caribbean; India; Singapore and Malaysia; Australia; Spain: Eastern Europe; Netherlands; Norway; Canada; Alaska,etc; and in 1995: Hong Kong; Massachusetts, New Hampshire; South Dakota; Ecuador -Galapagos; Pittsburgh; Million Man March, Chicago-Washington DC.