Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986

Rattner, Abraham, b. 1893 d. 1978
Painter, Muralist, Printmaker, Illustrator
Active in New York, N.Y.

Gentle, Esther, b. 1900 d. 1992
Sculptor
Active in Paris,France; Sag Harbor,N.Y.

Collection size: 24.8 linear feet

Collection Summary: 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.

Biographical/Historical Note: 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.

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.

Processing and microfilming were made possible by a grant from the Judith Rothschild Foundation.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this collection
  • The bulk of the collection is available on microfilm reels 5258-5279. The microfilm is available for interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Previous loans and gifts of Rattner material may be found on microfilm reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, D205C-D205D, and reel 1212. The materials on these reels include notebooks, journals, correspondence, clippings, exhibition announcements, writings, and photographs of art work. The previously donated material has been integrated and arranged; therefore, researchers may find duplicate films. Reels D205A-D205B and 1212 contain loaned material only and should be consulted by the researcher.