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 Rifka Angel  (1899 - 1988)

About: Rifka Angel


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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois / Russian Federation      Known for: genre, figure and floral still life painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Rifka Angel
1899 (Calvaria, Russia)
1988 (New York City)

New York/Illinois / Russian Federation

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genre, figure and floral still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Russia, Rifka Angel was schooled at home as a youngster by Jewish parents.  To escape religious persecution her father fled to New York City, and she joined him in 1914.  A sister and brother refused to come and later perished in the Holocaust.  Her father had art talent, and sketching in his spare time, encouraged her to do the same.  She also said later that "her desire to create art was born out of the turmoil of her early life and her need to find peace of mind."  However, she was 25 years old before she took up art with any seriousness.  Enrolling at the Art Students League of New York, she studied with Boardman Robinson and was especially inspired by other artists she met there, especially John Sloan, Ernest Fiene, Emil Ganso and Alfred Maurer.  Ganso was so impressed by her painting that he recommended her to Erhard Weyhe, who selected several of her gouaches for his Weyhe Gallery.

Meanwhile, Robinson advised her to discontinue Art Students League classes and focus on her own spontaneity.  In 1927, Angel returned to Russia for a two-year visit with a sister, and she studied for nine months with David Sternberg and others at the Moscow Academy of Art.  During that period she was much influenced by the styles of Matisse and Cezanne.  On her return home, she spent time in Paris, visiting museums and sketching.

She married Milton Douthat, a naval architect with whom in 1930, she had a daughter, Blossom Margaret.  The family settled in Chicago, and Rifka Angel did many modernist style genre, self portrait and figure paintings there, especially using her daughter as a model.  She was also a part of the Illinois Federal Art Project in the Easel Division.  In 1930, the Knoedler Gallery of New York held a one-woman show for Angel, and this exhibition included works from Russia and Paris.  The next year, Knoedler held a second exhibition, which had many paintings of the daughter Blossom.  In the mid 1930s, Angel and her family moved to New York City where she continued her career, focusing on genre, figure and floral still lifes in oil, watercolor and mixed media. 

No-Jury Society of Artists, Chicago, 1922-29
A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings & Sculpture, AIC, 1933, 34
Annual Exhibition of Works by Chicago and Vicinity Artists, AIC, 1933
The Ten, Marshall Field Gallery, Chicago, 1930
16 Cities, Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Findlay Galleries, NYC, 1937-38
New York World's Fair.
Solo, Knoedler Galleries, Chicago, 1930.

Chicago Woman's Club Prize, Annual Exhibition of Works by Chicago and Vicinity Artists, AIC, 1933
Chicago Society of Artists Silver Medal, Annual Exhibition of Works by Chicago and Vicinity Artists, AIC 1934.

Chicago Artists Society
Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists

Illinois Women Artist Project, Bradley, University,

Woman's Art Journal, 1986, Woman's Art Inc. ,, courtesy Kristan McKinsey, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences.

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