The still life and the bottom left nude are from the book Brackman, His Art and Teaching, By Kenneth Bates (Noank Publishing Studio, Noank CT 1951). The bottom right figure study is in a private collection in the Tampa Bay area. They are typical examples of Brackman's still life and figure painting in pastel and oil.
Robert Brackman was born in Odessa, Russia, September 25, 1898. At age 10 he and his family came to America by way of Boston and moved to the Lower East Side of New York City. Later his family moved to Brooklyn. He apprenticed as a lithographer to earn money to continue to study painting. Two of his teachers were George Bellows and Robert Henri two giants in American Art who taught at the National Academy of Design in New York. He acquired many prizes, commissions and was elected to the National Academy in 1932 and became a full academician in 1940. He became nationally famous as a portrait painter, after painting portraits of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, shortly after the death of their son and the list of famous Americans he painted reads like a Who’s Who. I can remember him telling us wonderful stories about his sessions painting Jennifer Jones for the movie, Portrait of Jennie.
In March of 2009, I was very excited to have an email from a man who found my website. He sent me a photograph of one of the portraits Brackman made of Jennifer Jones that was not used in the movie. It is signed by Eben Adams on the front while Brackman has signed the back of the painting. I was told in this email that this painting had been in his wife's family and has been in his living room for years! He was kind enough to give me permission to show it here.
Brackman taught painting classes at the Art Students' League from 1934 and was on the faculty at the American Art School of New York, The Brooklyn Museum and was guest instructor at the Minneapolis Art Museum. He had very popular classes at his home in Noank, Connecticut which were held during the summer in a building across the street from his home and studio. In the early 1960's he shifted his classes to the Madison Art Gallery, in Madison, Connecticut and finally he taught at the fledgling Lyme Academy of Fine art in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He was one of the founders of the Mystic Art Association and his work can be seen there and in many public collections in America. He died in 1980.
Robert Brackman was a dynamic teacher of painting and he inspired several generations of American artists. The final paragraph in Bates' book about Brackman sums up his 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, although 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 insistence on the great tradition of craftsmen in all countries at all times is the very core of the Brackman approach to painting.
If you want to see more Brackman images go to this link http://americangallery.wordpress.com/category/brackman-robert/
If you scroll down through the website you will see one painting called End of Day that appears to me to be unfinished. It clearly shows Brackman’s Impressionist approach to modeling the form with broken brushwork and spots of color. Brackman taught his students to build a painting with value, leaving the pure white of the canvas unpainted to represent the highest value and to start with the darkest dark. In time the white of the canvas would be painted to resolve any out of value areas. As the painting evolved more paint and more brushwork would bring the painting into a unified whole that would sing with color and value.