Abraham Rattner

American 1895-1978



A master of Abstract Expressionism, Abraham Rattner also explored Cubism and Surrealistic styles, applying his versatility at times to designs in tapestry and stained glass. A leading modernist painter noted for his superb use of colour, Rattner is probably best remembered as the most prolific of the twentieth century American painters of religious themes.


Showing early artistic talent, Rattner attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1917-1918 but was diverted by the calling of the First World War. Though wounded early in the battle at Marne, Rattner chose to return to the front in order to organise the creation of life-sized silhouettes of soldiers in an effort to mislead the Germans.


Returning to the academy after the war, Rattner was awarded a fellowship to study in Paris, where he attended l’Eclole des Beaux Arts, l’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, and l’Academie Ranson. Not until 1939 did he return to the United States where he exhibited in galleries with great success.


The horrors of yet another war caused rattner to alter his artistic style. By the 1960s, his work had become largely symbolic, his continuing concern with the human condition expressed through his bold and vivid use of colour. Rattner’s work is still popular today.