Aaron Bohrod

1907 Chicago 1992

Seated Model

pen and ink 12x9

Aaron Bohrod studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Art Students’ League of New York under John Sloan. While living in Chicago during the 1930s, he worked for the Chicago Federal Art Project and was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Illinois-Carbondale. Bohrod painted in the Regionalist and Social-Realist styles, documenting Chicago street scenes. The somewhat brighter colors found in his earliest paintings, however, reveal that he was already taking liberties with the Regionalist style. From 1942 to 1945, Bohrod was an artistic war correspondent in the European Theater for Life Magazine and also worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1948, Bohrod replaced John Steuart Curry as the second Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A few years later, his continued work with the university’s Rural Art Program created enough interest in program activities that the Wisconsin Rural Artists Association (WRAA) was established. Bohrod was Artist- in-Residence at UW-Madison until his retirement in 1973. In the late 1940s, Bohrod became part of a growing tendency toward illusionism and fantasy called "Magic Realism." His later “trompe l'oeil” still lifes, begun in the 1950s, are filled with allusions, puns, and jibes that refer to many cultures and different eras. He often included art historical references, found objects, and faux surfaces in his works to create those illusions. In the early 1950s, he traveled extensively throughout Wisconsin and Michigan, making sketches of the landscapes along the way. His intense study of nature resulted in smaller paintings that became more detailed.

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