New York, city of dreams...
Don Bolognese

DON BOLOGNESE

Don Bolognese and Elaine Raphael met at The Cooper Union Art School, where they studied under some of the leading artists in New York City. After graduation, married and working in New York, what followed was years of devotion to art, with a strong emphasis on printmaking. Elaine focused on etching, producing a number of editions culminating in the award winning series, Meditations on Vermont. Don’s interest was the woodcut; among the many commissions he received was the coveted Miracles of Christ exhibit, a series of large woodcuts and calligraphy for the Vatican Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.

For more than five decades, Don devoted himself to the writing and illustration of books for children. Those books became the focus of workshops that he held in schools throughout the country. During those workshops, working one-on-one with children, he was gratified at the effect art had on them – their discovery of something new and exciting about themselves. Teachers, too, were surprised at the number of children who went from being invisible to standing out.

traffic light painting

After retiring from working on children's books, he continued making art that he hoped would be meaningful in some larger way. In the end, Don decided that, like the children, doing what challenged his talent and was satisfying was all that mattered. The result is a body of work depicting cityscapes of New York, or as Elaine calls the series: New York, City of Dreams.

The latest painting in the New York, City of Dreams series, Art is in the Details, grew out of Don’s desire to capture some of the dramatic details that had been set aside while he worked on larger scenes and canvases. At the same time Don wanted to capture the kaleidoscopic effect of light, shadow, and detail that he experienced on walks through the city. The resulting ensemble of 16 individual canvases was planned from the beginning to be one painting – another exciting challenge.

Now, when another New Yorker, seeing the painting, tells Don "this is the New York I love," he feels a sense of satisfaction. For us involved in New York, City of Dreams, reactions like that made the next step inevitable. We worked with Don to turn his painting, Art is in the Details into a poster, so that the excitement of this city could be shared with other New Yorkers, with visitors, with students, and of course, with the unending stream of new immigrants, freshly arrived and expectant with their own sets of dreams.


top left: "Don in front of his painting," photo by Charles Lagana

lower right: Traffic Light by Don Bolognese

Elaine Raphael's art

Vermont Print Collection

Don's family of artists

Sam Clayton's art