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Peter and Rose Krasnow papers, 1914-1984

Biographical Note

Peter Krasnow (1886-1979) was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker who lived and worked primarily in Southern California. His wife, Rose Krasnow (1885-1984), was a prolific writer of poems, short stories, and plays.
Peter Krasnow was born on August 20, 1886 in the Ukraine, Russia to Jewish parents. His father's work as an interior designer inspired Krasnow's interest in art.
In 1907, Krasnow emigrated to the United States, first living in Boston. He moved to Chicago in 1908 to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose Bloom. To support himself during his studies, Krasnow worked as a security officer and performed other manual jobs. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1916 and married Rose that same year.
The Krasnows moved to New York in 1919. In New York, Krasnow experienced some artistic success, participating in group and solo exhibitions at the Whitney Studio Club. During this time period, Krasnow often painted city scenes using a dark color palette.
In 1922, the Krasnows moved to Los Angeles, California. Krasnow built a studio near Glendale in 1923, on land purchased from photographer and friend Edward Weston. The studio also served as the Krasnows' main residence for the rest of their lives. In 1923 in Los Angeles, Krasnow exhibited with the Group of Independent Artists, which included Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Boris Deutsch, Nick Brigante, Ben Berlin, and other noteworthy artists. During his first years in California, Krasnow mostly created watercolor paintings, including a series of landscapes, using a lighter color palette than his earlier works. In the 1920s, Krasnow also accepted commissions for carved wood reliefs at the Temple Emmanu-El in San Francisco and the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
Krasnow received a grant in 1931, and he and Rose temporarily relocated to the Dordogne region of France, where they lived until 1934. During this time, Krasnow painted a series of watercolors and paintings of the French landscape. Before returning to the United States, Krasnow exhibited these landscapes at the Galerie Pierre.
After returning to California, Krasnow began creating carved wood sculptures, which he named 'demountables,' often using wood from trees on his property. Krasnow created these sculptures to celebrate the organic shapes inherent in wood.
In 1934, Krasnow returned to painting, this time creating bright, colorful, geometric designs which often incorporated symbolism from his Jewish heritage. Krasnow focused on these paintings through the remaining years of his life. In 1977, Krasnow received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Peter Krasnow died on October 30, 1979 in Los Angeles. Rose Krasnow died five years later, in 1984.