Anton Refregier


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


Painter and printmaker. Although remembered primarily as a muralist, he also produced easel paintings. His figural style of simplified forms modernized tradition to address contemporary realities. Often he presented representational elements within strong, abstractly organized compositions. Born in Moscow, as a teenager he moved with his family to Paris. There he worked as a studio assistant to Russian-born sculptor and painter Nicholas Vasilieff (1892–1970), later active in the United States. Refregier emigrated to the United States in 1920 and became a citizen ten years later. In 1925 he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. He also studied with Hans Hofmann in Munich. In New York he worked with decorators and stage designers before the federal art projects provided the initial opportunities for which he is best known. His government-sponsored murals included major projects at New York's Rikers Island penitentiary and the WPA Building at the 1939 World's Fair. His ambitious series of twenty-seven panels depicting California history (1946–48) for the Rincon Annex Post Office in San Francisco remains among the landmark achievements of the era. A left-wing idealist, Refregier championed noncommercial art cooperatively produced in the spirit of the Renaissance atelier. From the late 1920s, he lived in Woodstock. He died in Moscow, where he had been invited to paint a mural. He published a textbook on figure drawing (1948), as well as We Make Our Own Tomorrow—An Artist's Journey (1965).

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.