Sergei Bongart was a Russian painter who was born in the Ukraine, studied at the Russian Academy of Arts in Kiev, and went on to paint and study in Prague, Vienna and Munich. He emigrated to the U.S. in the middle of the 20th Century, lived, painted and taught in Idaho and then in California, where he established the Sergei Bongart School of Art and administered it for many years.
He is admired for his richly colored and emotionally expressive landscapes, still lifes and portraits. He was best known as a colorist, working in exaggerated color, using dynamic but carefully controlled color relationships and extolling the virtues of approaching painting as “color first, subject last”.
There is a book, Sergei Bongart by Mary N. Balcomb, that you can read excerpts of here and find more information about on Balcomb’s site.
Bongart’s approach looks like an intersection between Russian impressionist style painting (see my previous posts on Russian galleries in the U.S. here and here) and Cézanne’s oblique path into the distillations of modernism. Bongart’s brusquely applied strokes of vibrant color create representational images, but you can tell that it is not the objects but color itself that is the subject of his paintings.
Link via Art Notes – Interesting Art Stuff
Post on Art and Artistry (several of the same images)
Excerpts from Sergei Bongart by Mary N. Balcomb
Artnet (3 images)
Old Utica Art Company (3 images)
15 Replies to “Sergei Bongart”
Now you’re talking!
There’s so little information on Bongart on the web.
My painting teacher’s teacher, Ron Lukas studied with him for 10+ years. He now works at Dreamworks having put teaching behind him. Too bad, because he’s an amazing painter in his own right. The few scans I have of his work, are quite wonderful.
Luckily the lineage is not dead!
Thanks for bringing him to light for people.
Uh, sorry again, now it will really look like I’m some typo-fanatic, but… isn’t it “CÃ©zanne”?
Great blog, by the way, it’s the first in my “daily” bookmarks.
What a great blog you have going! Thanks!
I agree, there isn’t enough about him on the web. That may change, though, as I’ve seen information about artists on the web increase dramatically in recent years.
Thanks, raymond. I’ve corrected it, and thanks for the good word about lines and colors.
The Bongart painting came up on the screen and I knew right away whose work it was. I had the chance to meet Sergei several times. I always liked his work, because it was painted with a very broad direct approach. Sincerely,Bob Ragland.
It is always nice to read good things about a master painter and teacher with whom I had the experience of sharing life.
Coming soon will be an Artist handbook on the Bongart Method. It contains six color prints, b/w photos of Bongart and thirty six illustrations. There are eight chapters on method, technique, values, color, portraiture, landscape, critiques, and equipment.
Humorous anecdotes with questions and answers from students bring the pages alive. This book will give additional insight to the man and his art. It is at press now and should be delivered within the week.
Also we will have the website completed soon. A DVD on his method is also available, and his studio remains at 533 West Rustic Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402
Thank you for letting us know about the upcoming book, new website and the DVD. I will look forward to writing an update post when the website is up and the book is available.
Thanks for the response, I know it has been far too long not to bring these resources to light, circumstances did not permit it. I have been working on them for many years. We talked with the publisher yesterday and they said the book will be shipped in about seven days. Tomorrow hopefully we will get our draft work to a website jprovider and shortly after, on line. We will keep you posted. Many thanks Patricia
What is the name of the website where I could order a copy of the book and the DVD?
Hello………..happy to let you know the website is up, sergeibongart.com. It may take a little time for all search engines to locate the site. You will find art work and the new book on “The Bongart Method”.
Sincerely, Patricia LeG. Bongart
someone in santa monica told me about a teacher who is teaching now and studied with bongart and i wish i knew the name of this person
Ovanes Berberian lives in Idaho like Sergei and he studied with Bongart for quite a long time. He teaches workshops and carries on the methods Sergei taught him.
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