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Kalman Aron

Kalman Aron's (1924-2018) successful career spanned eight decades. Born a child prodigy in Riga, Latvia in 1924, Kalman Aron began drawing at age three and at age seven had his first gallery show of drawings which sold in one day. Latvian President Karlis Ulmanis was so impressed with this young 13-year-old artistic ability that he commissioned him to paint his official portrait and arranged for him to attend the Riga Academy of Fine Arts.


In 1941, his life changed forever. The Germans invaded Latvia, killing his parents. Assigned to slave labor for the duration of the war, Kalman Aron was moved through seven concentration camps from Riga to the Baltic Forest, to Poland, Germany and then Czechoslovakia over the course of four years. In the Riga ghetto, concentration camps and slave labour camps, Kalman closely watched the guards, studying their psychological makeup. Undeniably, this experience informed his painting for the rest of his life.


After the war, his talent was once again recognized with a full scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where he received his Masters in Fine Arts. When he immigrated to America and arrived in Los Angeles at the end of 1949, it didn't take long before Kalman Aron's work captured the imagination of Hollywood directors, producers and designers. Throughout his painting career, Aron taught art at many institutions, including the Pasadena Art Center College of Design.

In 1956, Kalman Aron was named one of the 100 Outstanding American Artists by Art in America. He became a leading portraiture artist who painted adults and children in all media in the United States, England and the European Continent. Aron's artwork is in public and private collections throughout the United States and in Great Britain, Sweden and Israel. His work has been exhibited at major national art institutions, including the Frey Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, San Francisco Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Denver Art Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.

Text from: "Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron", by Susan Beilby Magee


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