After taking his first artistic steps with the painters as significant as Antonio de la Torre and Eugenio Hermoso he entered the San Fernando school of Fine Arts having among his teachers José Muñoz Degrain and among his fellow students – many of whom were to become painters of artistic renovation – Timoteo Pérez Rubio, Gregorio Prieto or Joaquín Valverde. Since 1917 he took part in National Exhibitions of Fine Arts, winning the third prize in 1924, the second in 1924 and the first in 1943.
In 1918 the Galerías Layetanas de Barcelona showed confidence in his talent and organized his first individual exhibition. In 1925 he became one of the members of Sociedad de Artistas Ibéricos (Iberian Artisit Society). José Frau displayed his works again with the same society at his last exhibition in Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1936, while earlier, in 1933 and 1935 he got the privilege to take part in exhibitions of Spanish artists organized by Pittsburg Carnegie Institute.
In forties he moved several times and lived in Buenos Aires, Montevideo y México till in 1964 he at least settled in Spain.