Rattner: The Early Years

This gallery serves as an introduction to Abraham Rattner’s early life – from his birth in Poughkeepsie N.Y. to his artistic training at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The artwork featured in this gallery was created before 1920, and includes portrait studies, life drawings and life studies.

At left: Abraham Rattner (American, 1893-1978)
Féte Bretonne (Brittany Festival), 1923

Oil on canvas, 36 x 28 3/4 in.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art


The Paris Years

After a traveling fellowship to Europe to study art, Rattner settled in Paris where he exhibited in famed salons and was associated with the avant-garde - especially the surrealist artists known as the Minotaure group. This gallery features some of Rattner's salon and surrealist work and his drawings and watercolors of the 1920s and 1930s.

At left: Abraham Rattner (American, 1893-1978)
Portrait of Henry Miller #1, 1940

Oil on canvas, 38 1/16 x 18 3/16 in.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Adopt-a-Masterpiece by Robert A. Sprentall


New York

Rattner returned to the United States because of the conflicts of World War II. Upon his return, he became recognized as a superb colorist and one of America’s leading avant-garde artists of the time. He exhibited at prestigious galleries and collectors sought his works. However, this period of Rattner’s work also reflects two tragic events – World War II and the death of his wife, Bettina Bedwell Rattner.

Abraham Rattner (American, 1893-1978)
Double Portrait, 1943

Oil on canvas, 38 1/4 x 51 1/4 in.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Adopted by the Glen family in memory of Gertrude and Morris Abrams


During his career, Rattner interacted with many leading figures of 20th century European and American art, literature and culture. This gallery features art pieces that were personal gifts from friends including Le Corbusier, Marc Chagall and Henry Moore. Half of this gallery is devoted to the 50-year friendship between Rattner and author Henry Miller – including Rattner’s drawings from his trip with Miller from New York City through the mid-Atlantic and southern states, featured in Miller’s book, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.


Painter of the Tragic

Allen Leepa, Rattner’s stepson and biographer, described Rattner as "painter of the tragic," responding to the inhumanity of world events in the 20th century. After World War II, Rattner used religious subject matter taken from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments to express his concern for the human condition. The works in this gallery feature Old Testament images of Job and Ezekiel, references to nuclear annihilation in the Cold War and reminders of the Holocaust.

Abraham Rattner (American, 1893-1978)
The Last Judgment, 1953-56

Oil on panel, triptych 94 x 144 in.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art

Major Commissions & Late Works

During the end of his career, Rattner sought architectural commissions and explored artistic mediums that broke from the traditional role of a painter. This gallery contains Rattner's stained glass, mosaic and tapestry designs, which share space with some of his paintings, graphics and works on paper.

At left: Abraham Rattner (American, 1893-1978)
Figure with Flowers and Table Still Life, 1967

Oil on masonite, 36 x 48 in.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Adopted by Tony Leisner for Pattie, LRMA Docent and Volunteer