Growing up in Paris, Francine Richman showed a passion and natural ability for drawing and painting from a very early age. Henryk Berlewi, noted Constructivist artist and designer, a friend of the family, painted her portrait and encouraged her to pursue a career as a painter. Her marriage to an American businessman brought her to the United States. In her years in Philadelphia and New York, she frequented museums and attended art lectures, honing her craft and vision as a painter.
In 1951, she fell in love with Montreal and decided to base herself there with her family. In the Sixties, she devoted herself to a formal study of painting and sculpture, including the lost-wax technique of casting -first at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts and then at the School of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. She became increasingly interested in sculpture: “The only reason I took up sculpting in the first place,” she said “was so that I could improve my appreciation for the third dimension in painting.” In time, however, sculpture came to replace painting as her preferred mode of expression; it seemed to be “a more complete” art form.