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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 20th century: Abstraction
Rosalind Bengelsdorf

Rosalind Bengelsdorf

(born New York City 1916 -- died New York City 1979)

Rosalind Bengelsdorf studied at the Art Students League and with the artist Hans Hofmann at his first private school in New York. She was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists, and believed strongly that abstraction was a “more direct account of reality” because it expressed “internal” natural forms (Bengelsdorf, “The New Realism,” American Abstract Artists, 1938). She participated in the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s, and created some of the first abstract murals for the project. In 1940, Bengelsdorf married the artist Byron Browne. They decided that there should be only “one painter in the family,” so Rosalind turned her attention to writing and teaching, only picking up a paintbrush again after her husband died in 1961 (Fraser, “Rosalind Browne, 62; Was Abstract Painter, Teacher and Historian,” New York Times, February 1979).

Image Credits: Rosalind Bengelsdorf Browne papers, 1927-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.