Franz Frank was born in Kirchheim unter Teck, the son of a doctor. After serving in the First World War, Frank initially studied philosophy, philology and art history at the University of Erlangen. He transferred to Tübingen in 1920, where he also took drawing lessons from Heinrich Seufferheld. Frank then studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts from 1921 to 1925, where he first joined the drawing class run by Arnold Waldschmidt and in 1923 entered the painting class of Robert Breyer. In 1925, Frank was able to exhibit his paintings for the first time at the Academy in Stuttgart, and an exhibition followed at the Dresden Art Association in 1927. That same year, he married Erika Münckner, a teacher. From 1928 onwards, he participated regularly in the exhibitions of the association Die Juryfreien in Berlin.
Frank took part in the exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1932. After the Nazis assumed power in 1933, he was no longer employed to teach in Berlin, because he refused to join the Party. His works were then removed from the exhibition of the New Secession in Stuttgart. Frank was drafted into the army in September 1939, and was later severely wounded on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was able to return to his family in 1945.