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 Dean Korach  (1888 - 1943)

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Lived/Active: New York / Hungary      Known for: portrait painter, fashion illustrator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted January 2006, is from Hanna Geshelin, granddaughter of artist Dean Korach. The information comes from her mother, the artist's daughter, Joan Korach Bandes Downing.

Dean Korach was born on May 4, 1888, in Kassa (Kosice), Hungary.  He was the third of three children of Marcus and Josephine “Pepi” (Feldman) Korach.  Louis, his brother, was born in 1875; his sister Elaine was born in 1884.  He studied law in Budapest for two years but spent more time drawing in the margins of his law books than studying.  He came to the United States in 1906, where he studied at the Art Students League, Chicago.  For most of his professional life he worked in New York City for Jack Warsaw, who was responsible for the Montgomery-Ward catalogs.  Korach, who was especially gifted in painting life-like textures, did fashion art for the catalogs.  This was seasonal work. When he wasn’t working on the catalogs he painted portraits.
He married commercial artist Viola Weinberg around 1917 and had three children.  Joan was born in 1919, and twins Malcolm and Muriel (Mimi) were born in 1922.  In 1928 the family moved to Milford, Connecticut.  Korach continued to work in Manhattan, living with his family on weekends and during the months he was not working on the catalogs.
During the Depression he raised mushrooms in the cellar of the family home for extra income. He loved living near the water and built his own boat. He spent time at the Artists Colony in Woodstock, New York, and enjoyed a week of camping and painting with artist friends in the Adirondacks each summer. However, outside of art his big love was music. He was an accomplished pianist.
Photography began to edge out painting for fashion catalogs around the beginning of World War II.  Seeing the end of his steady work, he learned to be a machinist.  He died of lung cancer in 1943 at the age of 55.
Many of his portraits continue to be privately held, including the painting of Minerva Hoffenberg, mother of noted author Mason Hoffenberg.  The portrait of a founder of the Jewish Home for the Aged in New Haven, Connecticut still hangs in the lobby of that institution.

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