Abraham Rattner Biography

Abraham Rattner




Abraham Rattner, painter and printmaker, was born to Russian émigré parents in Poughkeepsie, New York on July 8, 1893. After graduating high school he studied architecture at George Washington University, and painting at the Corcoran School of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

During World War I, he was recruited into the U.S. Army and served in France in the camouflage unit. Rattner was injured during the second Battle of the Marne. He returned to the U.S. and to his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was soon awarded a Cresson Traveling Fellowship that allowed him to return to France.

Settling in Paris, Rattner studied at various times at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the Academies Julian, Ransom, and Grande Chaumiere, as well as the Sorbonne. His first solo exhibition was mounted at Galerie Bonjean in Paris in 1935 and his first New York show took place later that same year. Due to increasing Nazi presence in Europe, he was forced to flee France in 1940, abandoning his work.

Returning to the U.S., he took an extended road trip with the novelist, Henry Miller, whom he met in Paris. Rattner taught briefly at Skowhegan School of Art, American Academy in Rome, Yale University, New School for Social Research in New York, the school of the Boston Museum, the Artist Students’ League, and Columbia University;
he would likely have worked in Stanely William Hayter’s Atelier 17 when Hayter established it in New York after fleeing Europe, himself.

Rattner was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and his work is included in Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Abe Rattner died in New York City on February 14, 1978.