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Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986

Rattner, Abraham, 1893-1978

Muralist, Painter, Printmaker, Illustrator

Collection Information

Size: 26.3 linear feet

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.

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