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Abraham J. Bogdanove (1887-1946)

Abraham J. Bogdanove (1887-1946)

Abraham Bogdanove, best known for his bold pictures ofMonhegan Island,Maine, was also a portraitist, muralist, and teacher.  He was born inMinsk,Russia, but was brought to theUnited Statesby his family at the age of twelve.  He enrolled at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design with the help of scholarships at both institutions.  He lied about his age to be able to attend the Academy at the young age of fifteen, where he studied under George W. Maynard and F. L. Jones.

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Abraham Bogdanove, best known for his bold pictures ofMonhegan Island,Maine, was also a portraitist, muralist, and teacher.  He was born inMinsk,Russia, but was brought to theUnited Statesby his family at the age of twelve.  He enrolled at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design with the help of scholarships at both institutions.  He lied about his age to be able to attend the Academy at the young age of fifteen, where he studied under George W. Maynard and F. L. Jones.

As a youth, Bogdanove was apprenticed to a sign painter and later became a draftsman for the New York Journal.  He taught drawing, anatomy, and painting for twenty-two years at the New York Evening School of Industrial Art and, around 1926, joined the faculty of theTownsendHarrisHigh   School, a preparatory school for the City College of New York.

Bogdanove started going to Maine in 1915, first to Mt. Desert Island for the three summers and then to Monhegan Island, returning there every summer until his death, except for one excursion to Canada.  The landscape of the island inspired him as it had done earlier for Robert Henri, Rockwell Kent, George Bellows, and Edward Hopper.  Bogdanove liked the casualness of the community and its lack of affectation but also the astonishing beauty of the rugged coastline.  He saw colors in the rocks that others saw only as gray tones.  “They (the colors) are there, if one can see them… eye can be trained, but there is not much hope for a painted unless he has a natural eye for the fine shadings and harmonies… Nature never makes mistakes in color harmony.”

Even as an accomplished artist, Bogdanove continued his studies in anatomy and color, taking instruction in mixing pigments from Dr. Maximillan Toch, a noted paint chemist. 

Another facet of Bogdanove’s career was his work in mural design.  His best-known mural, Great Teachers, in the Assembly Hall atCityCollege, represents twelve symbolic teachers from all periods of history and includes Oriental, Hebraic, Hellenic, and Christian schools of thought.  Other work is in theCommercialHigh School, theManualTrainingHigh School, and theAlexanderHamiltonHigh   School, all inBrooklyn, and the Sheltering Guardian Society of New York.  His easel work also appears in many public and private collections.

From Spanierman Gallery.

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