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Alfred Rogoway

Alfred Rogoway (1899/1900---1990) [1] married Marjorie Golden/Goldberg Kieve, and together they created an enviable international artistic life. Their daughter, Esther, is an artist working in Arizona [2]

Rogoway wanted to join the Navy in WWII. After a long period of waiting, he was accepted and sent to England. Being Jewish, he suffered discrimination, including a broken nose. His ship was torpedoed, and then Rogoway was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Granted a disability pension of $100 a month, he also received a free education. He chose Berkeley and Oakland to study. Learning from the best, including Lyonel Feininger, Hamilton Wolf, Fernand Léger, José Clemente, he became friends with Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Henry Miller, William De Koonig, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró, and Georges Braque. 

Not only did he study with great artists, he was well educated with a Master of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. from Berkeley.

Santa Fe is where he met Marjorie in the 1940s [3], and with Margaret Lefranc nearby, they were able to spend time together. Margaret was always surrounded by and associated with culturally sophisticated people. Rogoway adopted Marjorie’s son, Steve, who is deceased. Together they had Esther.

Numerous prestigious exhibitions occurred at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and shown at the Grosvenor Gallery in London, and represented by the Lanning Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. In October 1956, ARTnews, called his work a “mythology of plain living…imaginary people doing ordinary things…with an Afro-Cubist elaboration of faces, a hieratic solidity of color.” [4] 

Born in Portland to a comfortable life with his playwright father and painter mother, that comfort ended with his father’s suicide. He grew up in San Francisco with his grandparents. After the Navy and study, he traveled to Europe in the 1930s, a time of artistic ferment and experimentation. As many did, he migrated to Taos, Santa Fe, Big Sur, France, a return to New Mexico, Ajijic in Mexico, New York City, and Sag Harbor on Long Island, as he was happier in the country. The New York Times reported, “His people inhabit a dreamy never-never land made very colorful.” [5]  Mijas, Spain, was a happy location for about 20 years where Rogoway opened his own gallery. 

Rogoway’s paintings evoke a fragment of a fading reality or a vision now blurred. He was a master of color, using it freely in his art. His pieces are indeed as colorful and as worldly as his life.

Marjorie and “Rog” opened their home to artists for stimulating discussions and ebullient parties. They lived! With Marjorie’s death in 1983, “Rog” went to Tucson to stay with Esther. 

[1] Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California (1786---1940), 3rd ed., Vol. II, 2002.  Sacramento, California:  Crocker Art Museum

Communication with Esther Rogoway (daughter of Alfred Rogoway), an artist in Tucson, Arizona.

[2] Conversations and email from Esther to Sandra McKenzie, President of the Margaret Lefranc Art Foundation.

[3] Letters from Marjorie totaling 168 exist in the archives for the Center for Southwest Research, University of new Mexico, Tolbert Collection, folder 64, dating to the time period 1952---1981. Three letters from 1952---3 to Mrs. Judson Crews on Marjorie and “Rog” living in Guanajuato, Mexico, from Marjorie state, “I keep shop every afternoon” at the bookstore. Marjorie was also holding exhibitions. Esther was interested in exhibiting, and “Rog” painted.

[4] Not independently verified.

[5] Ibid.

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