Francesca Danieli, 52, collage artist

July 05, 2006

Francesca Danieli, an artist who won praise for her photo collages and politically themed video works, died of breast cancer June 27 at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Brooklandville resident was 52.

Born Francesca Costagliola in Bethesda, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University.

At age 25, she legally changed her name to Danieli.

In 1986 she married Gary Gensler, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who became an assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration.

The couple moved from Chevy Chase to their Brooklandville home, Fernwood, in 2002. Ms. Danieli received a baccalaureate degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002, and a Master of Fine Arts degree there in 2005.

She received national recognition for her photo collage work, including juxtaposed images of disease and antique furniture.

With two collaborators, she made a video, One Nice Thing, shot at the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions. The video posed a question: Can one party say one nice thing about the opposition and really mean it?

"Where does the hate reside? Is it coming from the leaders? Is it coming from the media? Is it all the way down through the rank and file? Is it more on the Republican side or the Democratic side?" she said in a 2004 Sun article about the production. One Nice Thing was featured at film festivals.

She also made photographs for a Maryland Art Place exhibition, 10, that depicted 10 women who had metastatic breast cancer. Her cancer was diagnosed in 1984, and she suffered recurrences in 1998 and 2004.

Services were held Thursday.

In addition to her husband, survivors include three daughters, Anna Gensler, Lee Gensler and Isabel Gensler, all of the family home in Brooklandville; three sisters, Marisa Costagliola of Columbia, Antonia Burns of Cambridge and Rose Rubin of Falls Church, Va.; and her father, Francesco Costagliola of Alexandra, Va.

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