Robert Brackman (1898-1980)
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Robert Brackman was an eminent artist and teacher of Germanic origin, best known for large figural works, portraits, and still lifes. Born at Odes’ka Oblast, Ukraine, he emigrated from Russia in 1908. Brackman studied at the National Academy of Design from 1919 to 1921, and the Ferrer School in San Francisco. From 1931, he had a long career teaching at the Art Students League of New York and was a life member of the League. He also taught at the American Art School in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum School, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, and the Madison Art School in Connecticut.
He painted portraits of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Charles Lindbergh, John Foster Dulles, Miirrha Alhambra (Pauline Joutard de Evia) as well as portraits commissioned by the United States Air Force Academy and the State Department.
He painted actress Jennifer Jones in oil to serve as a prop in the 1948 film Portrait of Jennie, where it represents a portrait painted by the character of Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten). He also did a pastel to represent a young Jennie for the same film. Fifteen sittings were held at the artist’s studio at Noank, Connecticut.
Kenneth Bates, who wrote a book about Brackman titled, “Brackman: His Art and Teaching”, wrote in his final paragraph about the painter’s approach to painting. “The student has a right to expect his teacher to show him how to tell a good piece of work from a poor one and how to set about the making of a good one, though he cannot expect the instructor to turn him into a creative artist. He may also expect to be taught the great fascination of his craft, which caused the sublime Hokusai, in his old age, to wish to be remembered simply as “an old man, mad about painting.” This represents the essence of his dynamics as a teacher.
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