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 Raymond Breinin  (1910 - 2000)

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Lived/Active: Illinois / Russian Federation      Known for: mural, set designer, illustrator

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Raymond Breinan is primarily known as Raymond Breinin

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Raymond Breinin
An example of work by Raymond Breinan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography has been provided by Patricia Breinin, the artist's widow:

Raymond Breinin was born in Vitebsk, Russia, where he commenced his art studies with Uri Pen (who was also the first teacher of Marc Chagall) and later attended the Vitebsk Academy of Art where Malevitch was the director. When he came to America he attended classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

A painter of murals for the WPA, he was invited to join the Downtown Gallery in New
York City, one of the foremost galleries at the time, where he exhibited in one man shows and group shows over a period of 18 years. The winner of numerous major prizes at the Chicago Art Institute and other museums, he also won the $1000 purchase prize at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Artists for Victory" exhibition. He designed the sets and costumes for Anthony Tudor's ballet, "Undertow" produced by the American Ballet Theater. He executed commissions for "Life", "Fortune" and "Redbook" magazines, for the Capehart Corporation, Eli Lilly and others and was a noted illustrator and portrait painter.

He did the decor for two restaurants in Chicago and painted murals in the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel and in the Emerald and Jade Rooms at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. From the 1960's through the 1980's he taught courses
in painting and life drawing at the Art Student's League and the National Academy of Design in New York City. Prior to that he taught at the University of Southern Illinois, where he was artist-in-residence, the University of Minnesota and ran his own school of art in Chicago.

He was a member of the National Academy of Design.

"Time" magazine called Breinin "the windy city mystic" and in an article in "Esquire" magazine the writer commented: "In saints and winged horses and bat-like men, in magicians evoking a monster in the forest, in sea and woodland scapes dense with brooding melancholy, in the strange coloration with which he endows a burning city, in the spires and rooftops and embankments which are for him the symbols of his native city in Russia, in the absolute loneliness of spirit which so many of his paintings declare--there is the specific character of Raymond Breinin's art. That character lies not in the dusty masks and costumes and lighting devices by which he conveys the mechanism of his magic--but in the dense atmosphere of the unreal in which his men and horses and buildings and landscapes are steeped."



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