John D. Graham

John D. Graham

Infobox Artist
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name = John D. Graham

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birthname = Ivan Gratianovitch Dombrowsky
birthdate = 1886
location = Kiev, Ukraine
deathdate = 1961
deathplace =
nationality = American
field = Painting
training =
movement =
works =
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John D. Graham (1886 – 1961) was a Russian-born American Modernist / figurative painter.

He was born Ivan Gratianovitch Dombrowsky in Kiev, Ukraine. He attended law school and served in the Circassian Regiment of the Russian army, earned the Saint George's Cross during World War I, and was imprisoned as a counterrevolutionary by the Bolsheviks after the assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family in 1918. He fled for a time to his mother's native Poland. In 1920, he emigrated with his second wife Vera and their son Nicholas to the United States. He began calling himself John in the US, and had his name officially changed to John Graham upon becoming a United States citizen in 1927. [Biographical information from A Finding Aid to the John Graham Papers, 1799-1988 by Megan McShea, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution ]

He trained at the Art Students League of New York, where he briefly assisted Ashcan School painter John F. Sloan. In 1925 he relocated to Baltimore with his third wife artist Elinor Gibson. In addition to painting, Graham established himself as an art connoisseur and collector. He is associated with the New York School as an arist and impressario. In 1942 he curated a group show at the McMillan Gallery that exhibited work by Jackson Pollock (it was his first New York exhibition), Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner and Stuart Davis, alongside work by Pablo Picasso Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard and Amedeo Modigliani.

John D. Graham along with Stuart Davis and Hans Hofmann is considered as a mentor figure for the Abstract expressionist generation of American painters and sculptors. In particular Graham was a notable influence on Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, David Smith, Dorothy Dehner, and Mark Rothko. Graham claimed to have befriended Pablo Picasso and many other important European modernists in Paris and in Russia. He often entertained and lectured the younger Americans in New York City about modernist ideas, often being the bearer of radical new insights into art and creativity. He was the author of System and Dialectics of Art, (1937), [ [] New York Times review by Grace Glueck, November 11, 1984, accessed online July 12, 2007] an enormously influential text during the 1940s, on art, modernism and the avant-garde. [ accessed online July 12, 2007] [ accessed online July 12, 2007] He died in London in 1961.


External links

* [ John D. Graham Biography: Hollis Taggart Galleries]
* [ The John D. Graham Papers Online at the Archives of American Art]
* [ John D. Graham article at ArtCyclopedia]

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