The unfolding of Bohrodís work

Book Review: Aaron Bohrod a Decade of Still Life

by Doug E. L. Haynes

University of Wisconsin Press 1966

It might be unusual to write a review of a work that is long out of print, but this book provides an insightful glimpse into the career path of a regional artist of the not too distant past.

While the book places emphasis on still lifes painted between 1953 and 1965. The preface contains a fascinating introductory essay by the artist, which provides an overview of his life as a painter. Accompanying that essay are illustrations of the types of work done at various points in his life. There are works in genres such as landscape, figure, war illustrations, and decorative designs done for ceramics, fabric and wallpaper. The early works do not appear to be terribly promising, but their inclusion offers a window into the unfolding of Bohrodís development.

I found it interesting to discover what sorts of opportunities advanced the career of an artist of my grandparentís generation. For Bohrod there was work from the Works Progress Administration, a fellowship sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation, government sponsored work illustrating the war, commissions by no defunct magazines such as Look and Life and department store sponsored painting events. A gallery in New York associated with the regionalists provided useful contacts and visibility.

The story he tells is one of advancement made possible by persistence, good fortune and the generosity of others. The narrative also makes clear that Bohrod was fortunate to marry a supportive wife and on more than one occasion ended up being in the right place at the right time. Artists of this generation might hope to be so fortunate.