ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
RIFKA ANGEL (Note: married to Milton Douthat)
RIFKA ANGEL was born in Kalvaria, Russia, on September 16, 1899 . .She has studied at the Moscow Academy, the Educational Alliance of New York and the Art Students League of New York. Her outstanding teachers were David Sternberg and Boardman Robinson. She has painted in Russia, Germany and France. She is a member of the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, has exhibited in various Chicago and New York galleries and has had a one-artist exhibition in Knoedler's Gallery of Chicago. Her work has been written about in New York and Chicago newspapers, by Ben Kopman, C. J. Bulliet, Tom Vickerman, Ernest L. Heitkamp and Eleanor Jewett.
In an essay of his in the Grande Revue of 1908, Matisse compared the fulfillment of his art to an easy chair, in which one can conceive having a perfect rest-for what he seeks is an art of balance. Sometimes I feel that there is that in my work-plus a bit of laughter. My approach is spontaneous, emotional-I create no problems for myself and have few to solve. I sing as I paint, and thus relate my colors, and anything which stirs me to paint is worthwhile as a subject. I take form for granted. It is not an obsession with me; and when my painting is realized, form and color complement one another to create a consistent whole. Still, my drawing being emotional rather than studied, my sense of color often helps me express form. Sometimes I abstract or edit my subject. To help design, I eliminate or exaggerate, but I do not conceive in terms of the purely abstract. I have heard so often the adjective "personal" attributed to my painting. I want to make this clear to myself, anyway. The best of us cannot claim a purely personal expression. One stores away things consciously or unconsciously. It is merely my particular way of reacting toward things which makes my painting personal, intimate, if you please. All good artists of the past and present have influenced me, and my art is an expression of this age, plus that which I have learned of the past. I think in this connection of what Diego Rivera has said, "Within every creative artist is the seed of another artist." I feel that environment and geographic placing somewhat influence an artist. So does racial background. The esthetic significance of a painting is, however, most important, and that is of universal character. When I was still in the embryonic stage of my painting, praise was given to me generously. It has kept my spirits up, and confirmed my own respect for my work. That much praise stultifies creativeness is as much nonsense as the other beloved invention- that genius thrives well on hunger.