Lines and Colors art blog

Sergei Bongart (update)

Sergei Bongart
When I first wrote about Russian-American painter Sergei Bongart back in January of this year, I was disappointed with the small number of his works that could be seen online.

Happily, Patricia Le Grand Bongart, Sergei Bongart’s wife and an accomplished artist herself, wrote at the time to tell us that there was both a web site and new book devoted to Sergei Bongart in progress.

She has just written again to tell us that the new web site is up, and the book on his painting method, Sergei Bongart …touched by the gods, is now available.

The interesting title of the book comes from a quote from Bongart: “There are two kinds of artists, the emotional painter and academician. The academician can paint into old age sitting on his stool licking his canvas until 98 years of age. The emotional artist burns himself up; he does not live long. The academician always creates something acceptable, boring, but acceptable. The emotional artist often misses, but when he hits it is breathtakingly beautiful,… touched by the gods!”

In addition to the new book, there is a video of Patricia Bongart demonstrating the Bongart Method and an audio CD of Sergei’s classroom lectures (apparently in a fairly heavy accent).

The new web site features a gallery with about 60 works, including some by Patricia Le Grand Bongart. Of the works by Sergei, there is a wonderful variety, including life drawings and travel sketches in addition to his brilliantly colored landscapes and still life paintings.


15 responses to “Sergei Bongart (update)”

  1. This is great!!!!


  2. I admire Sergei’s free spirited art and bold colors. Especially when he was trained to be so realistic when he studied in Kiav,Russia. I too wanted him to be remembered so I did a demo on him at my art league. I had many slides and photos of his work which I obtained from my friend who studied with Van Waldron in California. Hopefully his work will tour the U.S.A. someday so we can see it personally. I wish I could have studied with him too, but I see his teaching in his former student’s work. People working today, like Sharon B. Kaiser, Don Shali, etc.

    The new book written about him will help keep his memory alive for those of us who don’t want to forget him.

    All the best,
    JoAnn Vincent

  3. Wonderful article about a wonderful artist. Thank you so much for bringing it to us along with the web links.

  4. There is something of the spirit of Rembrandt especially in his drawings, full of energy and abandon at the same time.

  5. Roy Lindquist Avatar
    Roy Lindquist

    The world is full of hidden tresures, and Segei Bongart is a juwel in the art of paintings! I am just full of questions why I never heard of him before…. I like his paintings, not relistic as the photolike paintings that looks more like a camera shoot, but his own way of showing us what he see with his own eays…thats what makes it more interesting…its creativ, full of colours and sparkling towards us. A magnetic painting one dosent get bored of.

  6. Just recently I got hold of the book Seigei Bongart by Mary N. Balcomb…, The only bio/art book I read from the beginning to the end basically in one breath without missing one word… I found it the most inspiring and fun to read, not to mention it left us with so many wonderful and valuble quotations or words from the master. I love this book, it made me laugh and cry at the same time…

    Now, I just learned that there are more materials about his methods or his demos available… I will certainly make an inquiry about them. It is really wonderful to know that his legacy has kept him so much alive within us. Thank you!

  7. Although not related to Sergei, I did have the pleasure of meeting him twice in my life. You see, my mother Joan, was his wife between 1952 and 1959. They married in Memphis Tn. and then moved to Los angeles together.
    Unfortunately, Joan passed away recently, but, our family’s home has been quite the showcase for a bunch of Sergei’s work during that 7 year period. If there is a place to display them online, I would be happy to photograpg them and submit.

  8. Brant, I’m not sure where you would display them, but please do find a way to get the the paintings out to the public. I just used red chair with shawls as a basis for a Master Copy study. While in no way as wonderful as the original, it was an inspiration for me in exploring Sergei Bongart’s technique and unique vision. Reading the blogs on his writings, and searching out his paintings has expanded my viewpoint, and approach to a composition, and I feel enriched in just that one exercise. My painting instructor Michael Rodman pointed him out as a hidden gem of modern American Impressionism, and I completely agree. Please get the paintints out!

  9. Carolyn V. Long Avatar
    Carolyn V. Long

    I was lucky to have studied with Sergei in Santa Monica in 1965 and 1966. I stopped the lessons when I became pregnant with my first child. It seemed all I could paint was brown. I had morning sickness for 5 months.

    Apparently Sergei thought I was a fairly good painter because after doing only about 6 still-lifes, he had me start doing portraits. I talked to several other students who had been trying to graduate to portraits for a number of years and he made them continue with still-lifes.

    I always thought I was extremely lucky to have studied with him. I live in Washington state now and the Fry Art Museum in Seattle has a number of his paintings which they rotate in display. I still have the pictures I painted during his class and the one picture where he did quite a bit of the painting as a demonstration.

    I am so glad I looked him up on the enternet.

    1. Thanks for the personal perspective, Carolyn.

  10. Claudia-Marie Avatar

    Hello Charley, I came to this site from the Patricia Le Grand Bongart, Sergei Bongart’s wife and an accomplished artist herself, wrote at the time to tell us that there was both a web site and new book devoted to Sergei Bongart in progress.

    She has just written again to tell us that the new web site is up, and the book on his painting method, Sergei Bongart …touched by the gods, is now available. (copy and pasted from your site for the info).

    Do you know if her site is active now in Nov 2015 and if the book is available from there? The Paypal link is active, but I thought caution would be wise. Thank you so much! I will check back to see if this question is okay on your site and if so, what is the response. Thanks so much!!! I have just discovered Sergei’s works!!

    1. Hello Claudia-Marie.

      Both the website and the book offered appear to be the same as when I wrote this post in 2007. I have not corresponded with Patricia Bongart since that time, and I have not heard about a new book or new website, though I would be very interested in and supportive of both.

  11. Claudia-Marie Avatar

    Thank you so much for your quick reply! God bless, Claudia-Marie

  12. Anne Stephens Avatar
    Anne Stephens

    I would love to obtain a copy of Touched by the Gods but see that it is unavailable. Will it be printed again or do you know where I could purchase a copy? I do have Mary Balcomb’s book on Bongart which I love. Thank you.

    1. Anne,

      You should try to contact Patricia Le Grand Bongart directly through the contact email address in the left column of her website’s About Us page: