Colorado & Regional Art

Central City

Central City

Year 1930s

Artist Frank "Pancho" Gates (1904–1998, American)

Media watercolor on paper

Dimensions 13 x 18 inches

Frank “Pancho” Gates was born in Denver on February 19, 1904. He came from an artistic and theatrical family, with his father working in circuses and as a stage hand in Denver theatres. Gates, a painter, followed a theatrical path like his father and began painting scenes for the Elitch Theatre in Denver after graduation from high school in 1919. He went on to design sets and paint scenes for other theatres and traveled the country with road shows. During time spent in New York, he worked under the great theatre designer Robert Edmond Jones, who became the Artistic Director of the Central City Opera House in 1932. Together they helped to restore the Central City Opera House, the site of Gates’s largest body of theatrical work. Apart from his set design work, Gates exhibited his paintings of mountain towns Central City and Blackhawk, which now serve as an important historical record of scenes that no longer exist. His watercolor and oil paintings were included in several exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum in the 1930s.

Not currently on view

Signature unsigned

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2003.0011