Abraham Rattner was born in 1895 in Poughkeepsie, New York, and died in 1978 in New York City. He studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. from 1913 to 1914, at George Washington University from 1913 to 1914, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia from 1915 to 1917, at the Academie Julian in Paris, France, at the Ecoles des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1921 to 23, at the Academie Ransom in Paris from 1923 to 1924, the Academie Grande Chaumiere from 1924 to 1925, and the Sorbonne from 1925 to 1926. He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letter in New York City. Rattner exhibited widely, including at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Annual (1929, 1939-66, medal 1945), the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh (1943-46), the Corcoran Gallery Biennials (1941-65, 10 times including gold medal, 1953), the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Massachusetts, the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan (1945), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art in San Francisco, California, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, La Tausca Pearls Exhibition (1947 Prize), the Philadelphia Art Alliance, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, New Orleans Arts & Crafts in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Chicago Art Club, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D>C>, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, the City Arat Museum of St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri, Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, the Salon d'Automne, Salon des Tuileries, and Salon des Independants in Paris, the University of Illinois (1948 prize and 1952 restropective), Temple University in Philadelphia (1955 citation, gold medal, solo show), Art Directors Club in Philadelphia (1956 gold medal). American Federation of Arts Traveling Exhibition (1960-61), and Kennedy Galleries in New York. As Falk notes in "Who's was Who in American Art, "Rattner was an "Expressionist" artist.
Rattner joined the army in World War I and was sent to France as a camouflage artist. He returned to Europe after the war on scholarship and remained there until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, when he had to leave most of his work behind. He soon after took an extended road-trip through the U.S. with his novelist friend Henry Miller, whom he knew from Paris. (Miller later wrote an account of the trip, with illustrations by Rattner)."
Rattner was also an influential art teacher, teaching at the Skowhegan School of Art in Maine (summers 1949-50), artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome, Italy (1951), Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (1952-53), the New School in New York City (1947-55), the Brooklyn Museum (1950-51), the Art Students League in New York (1954), visiting professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1955), visiting professor at Columbia University in New York (1955-56), and many other institutions.
As a well known Jewish artist, his commissions are visible in prominent synagogues across America. Rattner's works are in the permanent collections of major museums and private collections around the world.