Frances Kornbluth was born in New York City in 1920, the oldest of three children she was the subject of a wide range of influences. Members of her extended family included a dress designer, Zigfield Follies performer, a music editor at Columbia Pictures, and a singer with the original Hammerstein quartet. After her dream of becoming a composer was discouraged she decided to follow her creative pursuits by first enrolling at Brooklyn College, then Brooklyn Museum of Art School, and continuing her education at the Pratt Institute. While at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, her teacher Reuben Tam introduced Kornbluth to Monhegan Island and encouraged her to enter competitions and exhibit her work. Robert Richenberg, her mentor at Pratt, also greatly influenced her work.