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Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986

Creator:
Rattner, Abraham, 1893-1978  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-1992  Search this
Subject:
Hirsch, Joseph  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier  Search this
Dehn, Adolf Arthur  Search this
Miró, Joan  Search this
Ruvolo, Feliz  Search this
Hélion, Jean  Search this
Kronberg, Louis  Search this
Leepa, Allen  Search this
Holty, Carl  Search this
Weller, Allen Stuart  Search this
Hiler, Hilaire  Search this
Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron),  Search this
Griffin, John Howard  Search this
Lipschitz, Jacques  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan  Search this
Malcolm, Thalia Westcott  Search this
Carton, Norman  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert  Search this
Davis, Stuart  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum  Search this
Biddle, George  Search this
Stark, Jack Gage  Search this
Peake, Channing  Search this
Ludgin, Earle  Search this
Miller, Henry  Search this
Boyle, Kay  Search this
Bedwell, Bettina  Search this
Burlin, Paul  Search this
Dos Passos, John  Search this
Hall, William Weeks  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson  Search this
Guthrie, Ramon  Search this
Lebrun, Rico  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault  Search this
De Rochemont, Richard  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Paul Rosenberg & Co  Search this
Esther Gentle Reproductions  Search this
Type:
Scrapbooks
Interviews
Topic:
Artist couples  Search this
Art  Search this
Painters  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9183
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211378
AAA_collcode_rattabra
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211378
Online Media:

Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers

Creator:
Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997  Search this
Names:
American Federation of Arts  Search this
Archives of American Art  Search this
Corcoran Gallery of Art  Search this
Detroit Institute of Arts  Search this
Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Kraushaar Galleries  Search this
M. Knoedler & Co.  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Midtown Galleries (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Milwaukee Art Center  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
United States Information Agency  Search this
University of Michigan. Museum of Art  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Allston, Washington, 1779-1843  Search this
Arms, John Taylor, 1887-1953  Search this
Bailey, Grace  Search this
Bailey, Truman E., 1902?-1959  Search this
Bohrod, Aaron  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Culver, Charles B. (Charles Beach), 1908-1967  Search this
Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Fleischman, Barbara  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-  Search this
Krentzin, Earl, 1929-  Search this
Marin, John, 1870-1953  Search this
Pollack, Peter, 1909-1978  Search this
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Richardson, Constance, 1905-  Search this
Richardson, Edgar Preston, 1902-1985  Search this
Ryder, Albert Pinkham, 1847-1917  Search this
Sellers, Charles Coleman, 1903-  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Extent:
4.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Typescripts
Photographs
Date:
1837-1984
bulk 1935-1979
Summary:
The papers of art collectors, art patrons, and philanthropists Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman measure 4.9 linear feet and date from 1837 to 1984, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1935-1979. The papers are comprised mostly of correspondence with artists, museums, and arts organizations. Also found are scattered biographical materials, artists' autograph letters purchased by the Fleischmans, exhibition files, notes and writings, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art collectors, art patrons, and philanthropists Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman measure 4.9 linear feet and date from 1837 to 1984, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1935-1979. The papers are comprised mostly of correspondence with artists, museums, and arts organizations. Also found are scattered biographical materials, artists' autograph letters purchased by the Fleischmans, exhibition files, notes and writings, printed material, and photographs.

One folder of biographical material includes a biographical account and a certificate of appreciation from the Common Council for the City of Detroit.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence documenting the Fleischman's art related activities and interests primarily during the 1950s and 1960s. Individual correspondents include Aaron Bohrod, Charles E. Burchfield, Charles B. Culver, Philip Evergood, Earl Krentzin, John Marin, Jr., Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle, Peter Pollack, Edgar P. and Constance Richardson, Charles Coleman Sellers, and Franklin Watkins. One letter from Charles E. Burchfield includes four etching plates used to create the color print of Hot September Wind.

Arts organizations and galleries represented in the correspondence include the American Federation of Arts, the Archives of American Art, the Arts Commission of the City of Detroit, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, Kennedy Galleries, M. Knoedler and Co., Inc., Kraushaar Galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Midtown Galleries, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the School of the Society of Arts and Crafts, the United States Information Agency, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Winterthur Museum.

Autograph letters purchased by the Fleischmans include letters written by artists Washington Allston (addressed to Thomas Sully), Albert Pinkham Ryder, and John Taylor Arms.

Exhibition files document the various exhibitions of art work from the Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman Collection at the University of Michigan Museum of Art; the Detroit Institute of Art; in Central and South America; in Greece, Israel and Russia; and at the Milwaukee Art Center. The files contain letters, notes, printed material, and photographs.

Three folders of notes and writings include "Introduction to Earl Krentzin Catalog" by Lawrence Fleischman and "Selection of Excerpts from the Soviet Press and Radio Attacking U. S. Culture" by unidentified authors.

Scattered printed material includes miscellaneous clippings and catalogs not connected with the Exhibition Files series. There is also a book John Marin: The Man and his Work by E. M. Benson that was autographed by Marin to the Fleischmans in 1953.

Photographs include portrait photographs of Lawrence Fleischman, photographs of Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman with colleagues, of art work from the Fleischman Collection, of Truman and Grace Bailey in their studio, and a copy photograph of Thomas Eakins as a boy.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1958 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-1984 (Boxes 1-4, 7; 3.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Autograph Letters, 1837-1942 (Box 4; 4 folders)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1953-1960 (Boxes 4-5, 7; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1957-1962 (Box 5; 3 folders)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1935-1969 (Box 5-6; 6 folders)

Series 7: Photographs, 1953-1965 (Box 6; 13 folders)
Biographical / Historical:
Lawrence Fleischman (1925-1997) of New York City was an American art collector, patron, philanthropist, and benefactor. He and his wife, Barbara Greenberg Fleischman, assembled an impressive collection of art and artifacts that they shared with the public as part of their philanthropic activities aimed at fostering a wider appreciation of the arts around the world.

Lawrence Fleischman was born on February 14, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Stella and Arthur Fleischman, the owner of a large carpet business. He attended the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, and studied engineering at Purdue University. In 1942, he interrupted his studies to volunteer for service in the U.S. Army during World War II. While serving in France, he met a doctor who further fostered Fleischman's ever growing interest in American art. Following the war, he graduated with a degree in physics from the University of Detroit. Fleischman met Barbara Greenberg in Detroit and they were married in 1948.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Fleischman established a fledgling television station, developed holdings in real estate, and began purchasing art work. Initially the Fleischmans collected undervalued 20th century American art and were friends with several artists, including John Marin, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, and Ben Shahn. They also expanded the scope of their collection to include 19th century American works.

During the 1950s, Lawrence Fleischman realized how there were few American art historians and college departments, as well as a lack of primary source material. Fleischman worked with Edgar P. Richardson, then director of the Detroit Institute of Art, to raise funds and they founded the Archives of American Art at the Detroit Institute of Art in 1954. The Archives of American Art was, and still is, dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of primary source records that document the history of the visual arts in the United States. Lawrence A. Fleischman is a founding Trustee of the AAA and served as the Chairman of the Board from 1958 to 1966. His wife, Barbara joined the Board of Trustees in 1997 and served as Chair from 2003 to 2007. She is a Trustee Emerita.

Lawrence Fleischman's business and philanthropic interests included the Arthur Fleischman Carpet Company, the Lee Plaza Hotel-Motel in Detroit, Art Adventurers, the Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit, the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Cultural Committee of the United States Information Agency, and the Art Commission of Detroit, which governed the Detroit Institute of Art. He also served as an officer of the Board for many of the arts-related organizations.

In 1996, the Fleischmans moved their family from Detroit to New York City, where Lawrence Fleischman became a partner in the Kennedy Galleries.

The Fleischmans philanthropic activities include generous support of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Cleveland Museum, the British Museum, the Vatican Museum, and lifelong support of the Archives of American Art.

Lawrence Fleischman died on January 31, 1997 in London, England. Barbara Fleischman lives in New York City and continues to be an active supporter of the visual arts.
Related Materials:
Among the Archives holdings are two oral history interviews with Lawrence A. Fleischman. The first was conducted by Paul Cummings in 1970 and the second conducted by Gail Stavitsky in 1994 . Both interviews have transcripts available.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming, the majority of which was later donated, except for five letters on reel D197. These include one postcard from Constance Richardson, 1956; one letter from Constance Richardson, 1957; one letter from Franklin Watkins, 1955; one letter from Lawrence Fleischman to Wilbur H. Hunter, 1960; and one letter from Richard D. Tucker, 1960. This material remains with lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers were donated in several accretions by Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman from 1954 to 2007. Letters were also loaned for microfilming in 1965, but nearly all of them were subsequently donated.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
Art patrons Michigan Detroit  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Philanthropists  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States  Search this
Painters -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Typescripts
Photographs
Citation:
Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman Papers, 1837-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.fleilawr
See more items in:
Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-fleilawr
Online Media:

Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers

Creator:
Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Names:
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Esther Gentle Reproductions  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Paul Rosenberg & Co.  Search this
Bedwell, Bettina, 1889-1947  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Boyle, Kay, 1902  Search this
Burlin, Paul, 1886-1969  Search this
Carton, Norman, 1908-1980  Search this
Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron), 1897-1973  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Rochemont, Richard  Search this
Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968  Search this
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993  Search this
Griffin, John Howard, 1920-  Search this
Guthrie, Ramon, 1896-  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988  Search this
Hall, William Weeks, 1894-1958  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-  Search this
Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Holty, Carl, 1900-1973  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Kronberg, Louis, 1872-1965  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Leepa, Allen, 1919-2009  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981  Search this
Malcolm, Thalia Westcott, b. 1878  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955  Search this
Peake, Channing, 1910-  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Ruvolo, Feliz  Search this
Stark, Jack Gage, 1882-1950  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Weller, Allen S. (Allen Stuart), 1907-1997  Search this
Extent:
26.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Date:
1891-1986
Summary:
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.
Scope and Content Note:
Abraham Rattner's papers provide insight into an important time for twentieth century American art and culture. By studying Rattner's papers, the researcher may view the beginnings of Modernism, the cultural change that pushed the boundaries of artistic and literary traditions and provided new ways in which to express ourselves.

The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.

The biographical files contain documents such as Rattner's birth certificate, travel visas, his senior yearbook from 1912 which shows some of his early art work, and some of his awards. His birth certificate is of particular interest since it shows Rattner's birth date to be 1893 instead of the recognized 1895.

The correspondence offers great insight into the thoughts of many American and European artists and writers during the 1930s and 1940s. Rattner, a prolific writer, expressed many of his own thoughts and concerns through his letters, many of which are included in this collection. The vast amount of correspondence include letters from notable figures such as George Biddle, Kay Boyle, Paul Burlin, Norman Carton, Robert Coates, Stuart Davis, Adolph Dehn, Richard de Rochemont, John Dos Passos, Xavier Gonzales, John Howard Griffin, Ramon Guthrie, Robert Gwathmey, Weeks Hall, Stanley W. Hayter, Jean Helion, Hilaire Hiler, Joseph Hirsch, Stefan Hirsch, Carl Holty, Louis Kronberg, Rico Lebrun, Jacques Lipchitz, Earle Ludgin, Thalia Wescott Malcolm, Henry Miller, Joan Miro, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, Channing Peake, Henry Varnum Poor, Felix Ruvolo, Waverly Root, Jack Gage Stark, Frank C. Watkins, and Allen Weller, among others.

Rattner was engaged in a wide range of special art projects, and he kept detailed files on these projects. The projects spanned from 1940 through 1973 and included endeavors such as illustrations for Life magazine, stained-glass designs, mosaic and tapestry projects, as well as special paintings such as Victory--Jerusalem the Golden and The Gallows of Baghdad. Rattner's papers also detail the history of a fresco painted by Paul Gauguin entitled Joan d'Arcwhich Rattner purchased in France in 1925.

Rattner's forty year friendship with the writer Henry Miller is chronicled throughout the collection in the forms of correspondence, writings, printed material, phototographs and artwork. Their correspondence ranges from 1938 through 1978 and offers great insight into their relationship. Rattner and Miller's road trip from New York to New Orleans in 1940-1941 is documented in the series entitled Special Projects. Also included in the collection are printed material, such as biographical material on Miller, Miller's writings, literary announcements and reviews; Miller's writings on Rattner; and photographs of Miller.

The gallery files contain correspondence, receipts, and notes regarding the galleries which represented Rattner. Those galleries included the Rosenberg Gallery, the Downtown Gallery, and the Kennedy Gallery. A small series of exhibition files contain material about exhibitions held outside of Rattner's representative galleries.

Rattner's writings proved to be an outlet for his thoughts on painting, his inspirations, frustrations, and sadness. In addition to painting, Rattner was able to express his creativity through writing poetry. Writing also helped him work through his depression over the death of his first wife Bettina Bedwell.

He also kept finely detailed studio notebooks. The original order has been maintained, and they trace the history of almost each painting, drawing, and study attempted by Rattner. The notebooks often provide information regarding whether the work was sent to a gallery or given as a gift. Sometimes they contain correspondence or writings that reveal the inspiration for a work. They have been arranged in chronological order, according to Rattner's own filing system.

Rattner retained receipts for most of his art expenses. Arranged by decade, these receipts show the type of paint, colors, types of paper and brushes that he used.

Rattner also kept many household files and personal financial records. Household files contain insurance records, warranties and rental agreements, while the financial records contain returned checks and bank statements. Some bank statements from Esther Gentle Reproductions are also included. The household files and financial records are not filmed.

The date books and diaries reveal the aspects of daily life and the personal thoughts of Rattner and Esther Gentle. In many cases, Rattner shared his date books and diaries with Gentle. The early diaries are fascinating, especially the 1939 diary that discloses the Rattners' last days in France before escaping Nazism and returning to the United States.

Rettner's scrapbooks span from 1938 to 1952 and contain newspaper and magazine clippings that mention the artist or his work.

The printed material covers a period from 1930s through the 1980s and includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, clippings, and miscellaneous material such as an autograph book from 1969 and a map of Israel that shows Rattner's travel route. There is a large amount of unfilmed printed material that is listed in the series description.

Writings by others consists of writings on Rattner and other topics.

The collection contains many photographs taken of Rattner and taken by him, as well as photos of family, friends, his studio, travels, and photographs of Rattner's art. Photographs of notable people include Henry Miller, Joan Miro, John Dos Passos, Archibald MacLeish, and Malcolm Cowley, among others.

The amount of Rattner's art work included in the collection is small, but it is significant because it provides examples of his very early work, dating from 1912-1914. Some later studies are also present, as well as a number of random sketches. Color was very important to Rattner, and some of his color studies from the 1940s are also included. Art work by other artists is comprised of some small paintings by Max Weber, a water color by Henry Miller, a painting by Ken Buryd, as well as some work by unknown artists.

In addition to tracing Rattner's life and career, the collection also documents the lives of Rattner's two wives, Bettina Bedwell and Esther Gentle. Both women had profound effects on Rattner's work. Among Bettina Bedwell's papers are her diary, fashion sketches, and correspondence. Esther Gentle's papers include correspondence, writings, as well as papers documenting her business Esther Gentle Reproductions. There are a small amount of papers relating to Allen Leepa, Rattner's stepson with Esther Gentle.

See index for list of correspondents from various series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into twenty-four series based primarily on type of document or special project. Though concentrated in its own series, additional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and may be found in special project files, gallery files, exhibition files, studio notebooks, and scrapbooks. The correspondence has been divided into two subseries, one chronological and the other according to Rattner's subject-oriented filing system. Special art projects have been organized by project, and placed in chronological order. The studio notebooks have also been divided into subseries, and all notebook pages maintain Rattner's original order. The first subseries of notebooks reflects Rattner's numbering system, while the second subseries is arranged chronologically. The vast amount of printed material has been divided into subseries, and all of the unfilmed printed material has been organized chronologically at the end of the series.

Within each series, material is arranged either in chronological order, or in some cases, according to Abraham Rattner's own organizational system.

Oversized materials from various series are housed in oversized folders 33-45 and are noted in the Series Description/Container Listing with see also/see references or in the container columns.

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1893-1978, undated (box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Interviews, 1957-1975, undated (box 1; 7 folders)

Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1933-1978, undated (boxes 1-5; 4.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Special Projects, 1940-1987, undated (boxes 5-6, ovs 33-35; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 5: -- Joan d'Arc -- Fresco painted by Paul Gaugin, 1925-1963, undated (box 7, ov 36; 12 folders)

Series 6: Gallery Files, 1942-1975 (boxes 7-8; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-1978 (boxes 7, 9; 9 folders)

Series 8: Writings, 1940-1972, undated (box 9; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 9: Studio Notebooks, 1935-1975, undated (boxes 10-11; 1.9 linear ft.)

Series 10: Art Expenses, circa 1940-1970 (boxes 11-13; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 11: Household Files, 1940-1970, undated (box 13; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 12: Financial Records, 1933-1963 (boxes 13-14; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 13: Notes and Lists, 1936-1972, undated (box 14; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 14: Address Books, 1939-1977, undated (box 15; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 15: Date Books/Diaries, 1937-1977, undated (boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1938-1952 (boxes 18-22; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 17: Printed Material, 1920s-1980s, undated (boxes 23-26; 3.6 linear ft.)

Series 18: Writings by Others, 1945-circa 1980, undated (box 26; 20 folders)

Series 19: Photographs, 1891-1970s, undated (boxes 27-29; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 20: Works of Art by Rattner, 1912-1914, 1940-1967, undated (box 30, ovs 37-44; 2.4 linear ft.)

Series 21: Works of Art by Others, undated (box 30, ov 45; 7 folders)

Series 22: Bettina Bedwell Papers, 1932-1947, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 23: Esther Gentle Papers, 1921-1984, undated (boxes 31-32; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 24: Allen Leepa Papers, 1952-1969, undated (box 32; 8 folders)
Biographical Note:
Abraham Rattner was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1895. His parents immigrated to the United States to escape antisemitism in Czarist Russia. He was the second of six children, including his eldest brother Louis, younger brothers Manuel (Manny) and Harry, and his younger sisters Rose and Jennie.

Rattner's parents encouraged him to paint at a young age, and as he grew up, painting became a part of his daily life. He graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1912 and left to study architecture at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At night, he took art courses at the Corcoran School of Art. He soon became a full-time art student, and applied for a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He was accepted in 1919 and supported himself by doing illustrations for Philadelphia newspapers.

In 1917, World War I interrupted his studies. Rattner entered the United States Army in France where he became Sergeant of camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Camouflage, reflecting aspects of modern art in its form and pattern, made use of Rattner's artistic skills. During the second battle of the Marne, Rattner injured his back and returned to the States with an ailment that would affect him for the rest of his life.

Rattner returned to the Pennsylvania Academy and was awarded the Cresson scholarship to study art in Europe. He traveled for one year, then settled in Paris for the next twenty years. Those twenty years in Paris became the most formative for Rattner because he was able to study and experiment with Futurism, Cubism, and Expressionism. Post World War I Paris was the center of modern culture for Americans disillusioned by the destruction of the war. Expatriate writers, poets, and artists were searching for a culture that shunned the traditions of the past and exchanged ideas with one another at the lively Paris cafes and salons.

In 1924, Abraham Rattner married Bettina Bedwell, an American art student and fashion illustrator. Bettina became the Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune Syndicate. In 1927, Rattner was a member of the Minotaure group, along with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Braque, Dali, and Reverdy. He also illustrated an article for Jon Dos Passos in Verve magazine in 1931.

Rattner's first one-man show was in 1935 at the Galerie Bonjean in Paris, which was followed by one-man shows at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Courvoisier Gallery in San Francisco.

The threat of Hitler and Nazism forced Rattner and his wife to flee Paris in 1939. Arriving in New York in early 1940, Rattner agreed to take a trip by car with the writer Henry Miller. Their route took them from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana via the East coast and Southern states. Their mission was to rediscover America, with Henry Miller writing about their experiences and Rattner sketching the scenery. Rattner's friendship with Henry Miller was an important one that lasted throughout his life.

During the 1940s, Rattner's art was widely exhibited. In 1941, he joined the Rosenberg Gallery in New York, and remained with the gallery for fourteen years. He won awards for his work such as the Temple Gold Medal in 1945 and second prize in the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition in 1946. In 1947, Bettina Bedwell suddenly died due to a kidney infection, sending Rattner into a spiral of grief and depression. To escape depression, from 1947-1949, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York.

In 1949, Rattner married Esther Gentle, an artist and business woman who ran an art reproductions business. In 1951, the Rattners moved to Rome where he worked as Artist in Residence at the American Academy. The next year, they moved to Illinois where he was the Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois. Ratter was awarded first prize in 1953 at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition and also served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity. In 1956, Rattner was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University, and along with his stepson, Allen Leepa, established an art school on Long Island. In 1957, Rattner left the Rosenberg Gallery to join the Downtown Gallery. He felt he would professionally profit from representation by the well-known Edith Halpert; however, the next twelve years reflected a tumultuous relationship between the artist and the gallery owner.

In 1957, Rattner reached out to other forms of art and design. He experimented with mosaic, tapestry and stained-glass. He designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland and a mosaic for a friary and college in Centerville, Ohio. His stained-glass designs were highly celebrated and respected. His most famous stained-glass piece was the window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. For this piece, Rattner spent two years traveling to Paris to design and supervise every process involved in the design and installation of the window.

Rattner felt that while his paintings during the 1940s and 1950s were romantic and self-reflective, the 1960s marked a new inspirational period in his work. His painting reflected religious comment, bringing Rattner back in touch with his Jewish heritage, as well as reflecting a sense of social protest. In 1968, Rattner exhibited his painting Victory--Jerusalem the Golden to honor the celebration of Israel's twentieth anniversary of independence. It was also in 1968 that Rattner left the Downtown Gallery for the Kennedy Gallery. In 1969, he painted The Gallows of Baghdad series as a protest to the hanging of nine Jews by Iraqi authorities.

The 1970s marked a time of many exhibitions. In 1976, the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. sponsored an exhibition of his designs for stained-glass entitled "...and let there be light". Also, from 1976 through 1977, "Our America" exhibited Rattner's drawings from his 1940 U.S.A. trip with Henry Miller in England and in the United States. In 1977, Michigan State University bestowed upon him the Honorary Degree for Humanity. On February 14, 1978, Abraham Rattner died due to heart failure.

1893 -- Born June 8th in Poughkeepsie, New York.

1912 -- Graduated from Poughkeepsie High School.

1914-1917 -- Student at George Washington University, Corcoran School of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1917 -- Enlisted in the United States Army in France as Sergeant, camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Fought at Seicheprey, second battle of the Marne, and Chateau-Thierry.

1919 -- Returned to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Awarded Cresson traveling fellowship to Europe.

1920 -- Traveled in France, Spain, England, Belgium and Holland.

1921 -- Art student in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Grand Chaumiere, and Academie Ranson.

1922 -- Lived and painted in Giverny, France.

1923 -- Returned to Paris.

1924 -- Married Bettina Bedwell, Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune news syndicate. Exhibited at Salon d'Automne and Salon des Independants.

1927 -- Member of the Minotaure group in Paris.

1931 -- Illustrated article, "Fire," by John Dos Passos for Verve magazine.

1935 -- First one-person show at Galerie Bonjean, Paris. French government purchased Card Party for Museum of Impressionism, The Louvre.

1936 -- One-person show at Julien Levy Gallery, New York (also 1939, 1941); Arts Club of Chicago; Courvoisier Gallery, San Francisco (also 1941).

1940 -- Returned to the United States following Nazi invasion of France. Traveled with Henry Miller from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana.

1941 -- One-person shows: Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles; Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery, Santa Barbara (also 1943); Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (also 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948-1950, 1952, 1956); Studio, New York.

1945 -- Awarded the Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Wrote "An American in Paris" for Magazine of Art.

1946 -- Awarded second prize at the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition.

1947 -- Death of Bettina Bedwell Rattner.

1948 -- Taught at the New School for Social Research, New York.

1949 -- Married Esther Gentle. Visiting artist at Yale University and at the Brooklyn Museum School. Awarded honorable mention at the Carnegie Institute Exhibition of American Painting.

1950 -- Awarded the Purchase Prize at the University of Illinois Biennial Exhibition.

1951 -- Artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome.

1952 -- Artist in residence at the University of Illinois.

1953 -- Awarded first prize at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition. Served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity.

1954 -- Taught at the Art Students League. Panelist at the Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

1955 -- Exhibited drawings at the Chicago Art Institute.

1956 -- Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University. Established an art school in East Hampton and Sag Harbor, Long Island.

1957 -- Designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland. One-person show at Downtown Gallery, New York (also 1958-1967).

1958 -- Designed mosaic wall for St. Leonard's Friary and College in Centerville, Ohio. Designed stained-glass windows for the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan. Began designs for stained-glass window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Exhibited with Alexander Calder at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Awarded the Butler Memorial Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

1959 -- Retrospective exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts. Exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art.

1964 -- Exhibited at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.

1968 -- Exhibited painting entitled Victory--Jerusalem the Golden at the celebration of Israel's 20th anniversary of independence.

1969 -- One-person shows: Kennedy Galleries, New York; Galerie Weil, Paris ( Baghdad Hangings), Galerie Belgique, Brussels ( Baghdad Hangings).

1970 -- Film commissioned by ABC-TV entitled "The Long Prayer of Abraham Rattner."

1972 -- Beggar's Opera lithographs exhibited at Circle Gallery, Chicago.

1976 -- Displayed stained-glass on religious themes with the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C.

1977 -- "Our America" exhibition in England and the United States. Awarded Honorary Degree for Humanity from Michigan State University.

1978 -- Died on February 14th.
Index: List of Major Correspondents in Various Series:
These correspondents will be found in the following series: Correspondence, Special Projects, Gallery Files, Studio Notebooks, and Scrapbooks: Edward Albee, 1928-

John Anderson, 1904-

Bettina Bedwell, 1889-1947

Carl Beiber

George Belmont

George Biddle, 1885-1973

Kay Boyle, 1902-1992

Brassai, 1899-

Paul Burlin, 1886-1969

McClure Capps "Mac"

Norman Carton, 1908-1980

Jack Chapman

G. Alan Chidsey

Frederick Childs

Robert Coates, "Bob" 1897-1973

Malcolm Cowley, 1898-1989

Salvador Dali 1904-1989

Paul Damaz

Bernard Davis

Stuart Davis, 1894-1964

Adolph Dehn, 1895-1968

Richard de Rochemont

John Dos Passos, 1896-1970

Armand and Suzi D'usseau

Rene Lefebore Foinet

Gisele Freund, 1912-

Emily Genauer, 1911-

Esther Gentle, 1905-1984

Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966

Xavier Gonzales, 1898-1993

John Howard Griffin

Ramon Guthrie, 1896-1973

Robert Gwathmey 1903-1988

Weeks Hall

Edith Gregor Halpert, 1900-1970

Stanley W. Hayter, 1901-1988

Nathan Hecht

Jean Helion, 1904-1987

William H. Henrick

Henry Herschkvitz

Hilaire Hiler, 1898-1966

Joseph Hirsch "Joe," 1910-1981

Stefan Hirsch, 1889-1964

Carl Holty, 1900-1973

Etienne Hubert

Arno Hummucher

Frederick I. Kann "Fred," 1886-

L.J. Konigsberg "Leib"

Louis Kronberg, 1872-1965

Alexandra Laks

Rico Lebrun (Fredrico), 1900-1964

Allen Leepa, 1919-

Isadore Levy

Julian Levy, 1906-1981

Jacques Lipchitz, 1891-1973

Ward Lockwood, 1894-1963

Jean Louste

Earle Ludgin, 1898-1981

Thalia Wescott Malcolm, 1888-

Reginald Marsh, 1898-1954

Archibald McLeish, 1892-

Henry Miller, 1891-1980

Joan Miro, 1893-1983

Gloria Nardin

Anais Nin, 1903-1977

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt "B.J.O.," 1878-1955

Hugh O'Neill

Channing Peake, 1910-1989

Gabor Peferdi

Irving Penn

Peter Pollack, 1911-1978

Henry Varnum Poor 1888-1970

Andre Raizorkacs

Robert Rey

Maurice Reynal

Raymond Reynal

Hans Richter, 1888-1976

Edward Roditi

Shelden Rodman, 1909-

Waverly Root, 1903-1982

Felix Emmanuele Ruvolo, 1912-

Frank Sedlak

Paul Shapiro

Jack Gage Stark, 1882-1950

Barrie Stavis

Ike Stoeffle

Benjamin Ellis Tepper

David Turnbull

Alfredo Valente

Siegfried Wang

Frank C. Watkins (Franklin Chenault), 1894-1972

Allen Weller, 1907-
Separated Materials note:
Loaned material, including notebooks, writings, and some correspondence, were returned to Abraham Rattner after microfilming. This material is now part of the Abraham Rattner notes collection at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College. Loaned material is available on reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, and reel 1212, but is not described in this finding aid.
Provenance:
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art in stages by Abraham Rattner 1972-1983, by Esther Gentle 1986-1987, and by Gene Allen in 1992. The donated material that was previously filmed has been integrated and refilmed includes reels D203 and D205C-D205D. The material found on reels D205A-D205B was loaned by Rattner and the material found on reel 1212 was loaned by his sister, Jennie Allen.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use of unmicrofilmed portion requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Artist couples  Search this
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- France -- Paris  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rattabra
See more items in:
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rattabra

Abraham and Esther Rattner letter to Helen Kroll Kramer, undated

Creator:
Rattner, Abraham, 1893-1978  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-1992  Search this
Subject:
Kramer, Helen Kroll  Search this
Topic:
Painters  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8380
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210554
AAA_collcode_rattabra2
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210554

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