Fran.

Sarah J Coleman
4 min readNov 28, 2023

I learned yesterday that my New York agent, Francine Rosenfeld, died at the weekend.

I’m really sad about this. I came across Fran’s last ever email to me only last week by accident, while I was looking up some info about an old job. I was thinking about her the rest of that day, wondering what she was up to, worrying that I hadn’t done my Christmas promo yet and thinking about the time I told her I hoped she’d get some decent time off at Christmas: “ …not my holiday”, she said, and shimmied off presumably to book in another seven meetings.

When I joined Bernstein & Andriulli in 2007, now BA Reps, I went to their office in Manhattan and was introduced by agency director Louisa (who’d recruited me to the agency) to the tall, slim Fran on arrival. She had dark eyes, dark, thick hair with a reddish tinge, boots, and a forbidding vibe; sort of Goth Lite, and I knew she meant business.

And she was ALL Business, with an upper-case B. She set about shoving me under as many art directors’ noses as she could, within a couple of weeks bringing me a fat pharmaceutical project with a price tag I’d never seen the likes of before. And from that moment, she was my boss. VIVIDLY I can still feel the anxiety of being chased around the town on a Saturday afternoon as I was getting coffee, having just climbed down from a scaffold where I was trying to finish a wall piece, while in the throes of releasing a record the following day, finishing a pharma job AND getting on a 6am flight to Lisbon the next morning. She didn’t care — she just wanted to know that I was working on her client’s job. “Saraaaaahhhh….where ARE you? The client NEEDS you.” We got it all done somehow. With decades in the industry, she knew everyone and everything, quoted fees like a demon (a fee-mon??) and managed projects with what can only be described oxymoronically as a kind ferocity, keeping clients calm and artists on their tippy-toes till the work was signed off.

Later on she got a tattoo I designed of her little dog’s name, Kody. I’m always surprised and honoured that someone would want anything I’ve made on their skin forever, but with Fran’s I felt especially trusted with what would have been an important little creative statement for her.

My Mum will be saddened too; as Anne The Accounts Lady, she frequently emailed her to chase TAs and client details. Equally brief with comms, they were around the same age, I think, though Fran was notoriously coy about her age, partly because she looked so fantastic and full of confidence. Not coy enough, however, to hold back on advising me which cosmetic surgeries she thought I would benefit from the most, during a walk to a downtown meeting one sunny spring afternoon. Her background was mysterious and I liked it that way — she was all about the now, and her enthusiasm for creativity and commerce was infectious.

She was my agent, my friend, a tyrant and a pain in the arse, and she was responsible for bringing me some of the biggest projects of my career (so far!) We spoke almost every day while she was with B&A. Over a period of almost 13 years, she was a core part of my work family; the day genuinely did not feel normal if I hadn’t had a call with Fran.

I missed her when she left the agency. Her mantle was taken up by a set of handsomely able successors, and the BA family continues. But Fran will always have a special place in my memory. Her terrier-like ambition helped put me where I am now, I’ll forever be grateful to her.

She was really quite amazing.

Fran, Stan and Bec, taken by me, on a Manhattan rooftop in 2009.
Fran just being very Fran.
KODY.
I mean…look at her! (from her brother Gary’s post on Facebook).
F R A N with Tristan Eaton.

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Sarah J Coleman

Artist + illustrator of over 800 books and owner of the same amount of pens. Enough to write you a picture AND paint you a story. inkymole.com / inkstagram.ink