Paper Meringue and other delights, winter/spring 2019

Photos by jay york

Artist Endowed Foundations of Maine, Summer 2018

Hosted by the dorothea and leo rabkin foundation- hosting works borrowed from the kenneth noland foundation, the ellis-beauregard foundation, the heliker-lahotan foundation, the bob crewe foundation, the stephen pace foundation, the surf point foundation (beverly hallam), and the fiore foundation———Photos by tim greenway

longfellow elementary school exhibition, april 2018

after a visit to the foundation headquarters, 5th grade students from the longfellow elementary school in portland were inspired to create boxes from found materials, similar to Leo Rabkin’s boxes that were made during the 70’s and 80’s.

From Tragedy to Transformation: The journey of Dorothea herz rabkin, Late fall 2018

Part of the making migration visible state-wide initiative

Various photographs, works by Leo Rabkin, & sculptures by family friend & German immigrant Ruth Vollmer.

Dorothea Herz Rabkin (1921-2008) was born in Berlin to Jewish father and a Gentile mother. During the rise of Hitler’s regime, her mother decided to renounce the family and fled to safety. Dorothea and her twin sister, Rose, became “hidden children” living in the house of brave neighbors and friends who shielded them from the Gestapo’s deadly persecutions of Jewish families. Their dear father committed suicide rather than face the depredations of Nazi forces, leaving the girls without family in the midst of 1930s Berlin.

Rose made her way to New York City in 1948 and sent for her sister, Dorothea, who came the next year. The girls were multilingual and Dorothea found work for a rare book dealer who appreciated her writing ability in English, German and French. Dorothea especially loved the free spirit of New York City and spent time at the Museum of Modern Art where she saw the art despised in Germany as too radical, now celebrated in her new country.

In 1958, Dorothea met Leo Rabkin on a blind date arranged by Dorothea Pearlstein, the wife of Philip Pearlstein, the realist painter. Leo and Dorothea married within a few months and established a household in Greenwich Village, soon filling it with American folk art as an expression of Dorothea’s love for the open-minded, resourceful working people of her adopted country.

Dorothea Rabkin always expressed her gratitude to the United States for welcoming her, healing her psychological and physical wounds, and giving her a wonderful future. She lived a long life with artist Leo Rabkin, always charitable, eager to embrace new people and experiences and full of joy for a world that can become whole again after a dark tragedy.

Rethinking watercolor, fall 2018

Photos by jay york

Real Things Only, August 2018

Folk & outsider art from the rabkin collection, fall 2017

Dorothea & Leo Rabkin were prominent in New York art circles for their landmark collection of American folk art.  Eventually numbering more than a thousand objects, it featured many whirligigs, complex sculptures that move in the wind depicting people doing daily activities.  They started collecting soon after their marriage in an era when so much material was available that they had to narrow their focus.  They decided to specialize in work involving people and eventually created a collection that told a deep and broad story of American life. Several major exhibitions of the Rabkin’s folk art collection led to a series of donations to the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.  With Dorothea’s passing from Parkinson’s Disease in 2008, Leo dispersed the remaining folk art collection to the High Museum in Atlanta and to other institutions across the country. This exhibition at the Rabkin Headquarters showed most of what remains under the Foundation’s care.

City Boxes & Stitched Canvases, Feb., 2017

Signs of Spring, 2017

 The Rabkin Foundation’s Opening Exhibition, December 14th, 2016

Photos by Tabitha Barnard