Rattner, Abraham

Hide Profile

Kramer is an assemblage artist and sculptor.

Abraham Rattner (1895-1978) was a painter in New York, N.Y. His 2nd wife, Esther Gentle, was also a painter.

From the description of Abraham and Esther Rattner letter to Helen Kroll Kramer, undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 77961303

Abraham Rattner (1893-1978) was a painter, mosaicist, and stained glass artist from Paris, France and New York, N.Y.

Studied art and architecture at George Washington University, the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army camouflage section. Married first wife, Bettina Bedwell, in 1924. Was a member of the Minotaure group, along with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Braque, Dali, and Reverdy. Rattner and his wife fled Europe in 1939 following the Nazi invasion of France. He married second wife Esther Gentle (1900-1992) in 1949. Rattner died of heart failure on February 14, 1978.

From the description of Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83272116

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.

From the guide to the Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ney, Lloyd Raymond, 1893-1964 or 5. Lloyd Raymond Ney papers, 1902-1987. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Laurent, Robert, 1890-1970. Robert Laurent papers, 1869-1973. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Botkin, Henry, 1896-1983. Henry Botkin papers, 1917-1979. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Mayer, Ralph, 1895-. Ralph and Bena Frank Mayer papers [ca. 1920]-1964. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Reinsel, Walter, 1905-1979. Walter Newton Reinsel letters, 1941-1972. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Allen, Jennie. Letters and greeting cards to Jennie Allen from Abraham Rattner, dates. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Quirt, Walter, 1902-1968. Walter Quirt papers, 1928-1976. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969 Archives of American Art
referencedIn De Creeft, José, 1884-1982. José de Creeft papers, 1908-2004. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Gladys Edgerly Bates Papers, 1913-1962 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Halasz, Piri. Piri Halasz papers, 1969-2009. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997. Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers, 1863-1970. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Rattner, Abraham, 1895-1978 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Piri Halasz papers, 1969-2009 Archives of American Art
referencedIn William Kienbusch papers, 1915-2001, bulk 1936-1980 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968. Adolf and Virginia Dehn papers, 1912-1981. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Matthew Josephson papers, 1917-1979 (inclusive) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Lockwood, Ward. Ward Lockwood papers, 1913-1963. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Browne, Byron, 1907-1961. Byron Browne papers, 1930-1963. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981. Earle and Mary Ludgin papers, 1930-1983. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Bry, Edith, 1898-. Edith Bry papers, 1922-1970. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Rattner, Abraham : Biographical file. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
creatorOf Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997. Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman papers, 1863-1970. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Roberts, Colette, 1910-. Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1961-1971 [sound recording]. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ingersoll, R. Sturgis (Robert Sturgis), b. 1891. R. Sturgis Ingersoll papers related to Henry McCarter, 1896-1944 (bulk 1930-1943). Archives of American Art
referencedIn Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966. Hilaire Hiler papers, 1925-1966. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Miller, Henry, 1891-1980. Papers of Henry Miller [manuscript], 1943-1946. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968. Adolf and Virginia Dehn papers, 1912-1981. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Rattner, Abraham. Abraham Rattner : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Isabel Bishop papers, 1914-1983 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973. Philip Evergood papers, 1910-1970. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Rattner, Abraham. Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Josephson, Matthew, 1899-1978. Matthew Josephson papers, 1917-1979 (inclusive). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Reis, Bernard J., 1895-1978. Bernard J. Reis papers, 1934-1979. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Gross, Chaim, 1904-1991. Chaim Gross papers, 1920-1983. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Lowenthal, Milton. Milton and Edith Lowenthal papers, 1940-1989. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988. Isabel Bishop papers, 1914-1983. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968. Adolf Dehn papers, 1912-1987. Archives of American Art
referencedIn De Creeft, José, 1884-1982. José de Creeft papers, 1908-1982. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Rattner, Abraham. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Valente, Alfredo. Abraham Rattner [graphic]. Archives of American Art
referencedIn American Federation of Arts. American Federation of Arts records, 1895-1993 (bulk 1909-1969). Archives of American Art
creatorOf Shapiro, Joseph Randall. Joseph Randall Shapiro and Jory Shapiro papers, 1943-1985. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg papers, circa 1890s-2002, bulk 1919-1999 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Erle Loran papers, 1912-1999 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Pierre Matisse Gallery records, 1925-1989. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Rattner, Abraham. Abraham and Esther Rattner letter to Helen Kroll Kramer, undated. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kienbusch, William, 1914-1980. William Kienbusch papers, 1915-2001, bulk 1936-1980. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Roberts, Colette, 1910-. Colette Roberts papers and interviews with artists, 1918-1971. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968. Adolf and Virginia Dehn and Dehn family papers, 1912-1981. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Adolf Dehn papers, 1912-1987 Archives of American Art
referencedIn American Federation of Arts records, 1895-1993 (bulk 1909-1969) Archives of American Art
creatorOf Bostick, William A. William Bostick letters, 1947-1956. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Roberts, Colette, 1910-1971. Colette Roberts interviews with artists, 1961-1971 [sound recording]. Archives of American Art
creatorOf RATTNER, ABRAHAM. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Harriton, Abraham, 1893-1987. Abraham Harriton papers, 1910-1986. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Colette Roberts Artist Interviews, 1964-1969 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Kienbusch, William, 1914-1980. William Kienbusch papers, 1920-1980. Archives of American Art
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Jennie. person
associatedWith American Federation of Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Bates, Gladys Edgerly Archives. person
associatedWith Bedwell, Bettina, 1889-1947. person
associatedWith Biddle, George, 1885- person
associatedWith Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988. person
associatedWith Bostick, William A. person
associatedWith Botkin, Henry, 1896-1983. person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902- person
associatedWith Browne, Byron, 1907-1961. person
associatedWith Bry, Edith, 1898- person
associatedWith Burlin, Paul, 1886-1969. person
associatedWith Carton, Norman, 1908-1980. person
associatedWith Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron), 1897-1973. person
associatedWith Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964. person
associatedWith De Creeft, José, 1884-1982. person
associatedWith Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968. person
associatedWith De Rochemont, Richard. person
associatedWith Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970. person
associatedWith Downtown Gallery corporateBody
associatedWith Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Esther Gentle Reproductions. corporateBody
associatedWith Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973. person
associatedWith Feitelson, Lorser, 1898-1978. person
associatedWith Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997. person
associatedWith Gentle, Esther, 1900- person
associatedWith Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993. person
associatedWith Griffin, John Howard, 1920- person
associatedWith Gross, Chaim, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Guthrie, Ramon, 1896- person
associatedWith Guthrie, Ramon, 1896- person
associatedWith Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988. person
associatedWith Halasz, Piri. person
associatedWith Hall, William Weeks, 1894-1958. person
associatedWith Harriton, Abraham, 1893-1987. person
associatedWith Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988. person
associatedWith Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987. person
associatedWith Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966. person
associatedWith Hirsch, Joseph, 1910- person
associatedWith Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981. person
associatedWith Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964. person
associatedWith Holty, Carl, 1900-1973. person
associatedWith Ingersoll, R. Sturgis (Robert Sturgis), b. 1891. person
associatedWith Josephson, Matthew, 1899-1978. person
associatedWith Kennedy Galleries. corporateBody
associatedWith Kienbusch, William, 1914-1980. person
associatedWith Kramer, Helen Kroll. person
associatedWith Kronberg, Louis, 1872-1965. person
associatedWith Laurent, Robert, 1890-1970. person
associatedWith Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964. person
associatedWith Leepa, Allen, 1919- person
associatedWith Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891- person
associatedWith Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973. person
associatedWith Lockwood, Ward. person
associatedWith Loran, Erle, 1905-1999. person
associatedWith Lowenthal, Milton. person
associatedWith Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981. person
associatedWith Malcolm, Thalia Westcott, b. 1878. person
associatedWith Mayer, Ralph, 1895- person
associatedWith Miller, Henry, 1891-1980. person
associatedWith Miró, Joan, 1893- person
associatedWith Miró, Joan, 1893 person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Ney, Lloyd Raymond, 1893-1964 or 5. person
associatedWith Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955. person
associatedWith Paul Rosenberg & Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Paul Rosenberg & Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Peake, Channing, 1910- person
associatedWith Peake, Channing, 1910- person
associatedWith Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970. person
associatedWith Quirt, Walter, 1902-1968. person
associatedWith Reinsel, Walter, 1905-1979. person
associatedWith Reis, Bernard J., 1895-1978. person
associatedWith Roberts, Colette, 1910-1971. person
associatedWith Ruvolo, Feliz person
associatedWith Ruvolo, Feliz. person
associatedWith Shapiro, Joseph Randall. person
associatedWith Stark, Jack Gage, 1882-1950. person
associatedWith Valente, Alfredo. person
associatedWith Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Weller, Allen S. (Allen Stuart), 1907-1997. person
associatedWith Weller, Allen Stuart, 1907- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
France--Paris
New York (State)--New York
Subject
Art--American (?)--Reproductions
Art--Study and teaching--France--Paris
Painters
Artist couples
Painters--New York (State)--New York
Painters--France--Paris
Art--Study and teaching
Art, American
Occupation
Activity

Person

Active 1869

Active 1973

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6000ck0

Ark ID: w6000ck0

SNAC ID: 63081339