Razel Kapustin, The Beasts of War

Razel Kapustin: The Beasts of War (1948) Oil on masonite
The Beasts of War
Oil on masonite
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2011
21 x 25 ½ in.

Kapustin etches into thick layers of paint in her anti-war dramatization, The Beasts of War. By 1948, the world had come to realize the horror of the Holocaust, the atom bomb, and the massive destruction of World War II. Kapustin's hungry dog and fallen knight -perhaps an empty suit of armor -are symbolic characters in an allegory of Armageddon.

Razel Kapustin was born in Ladizhen, Russia, and came with her family to the United States, settling in Philadelphia. She studied at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA and with David A. Siqueiros, the artist famous for his politically-charged murals, in Mexico. A long-time instructor at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, she participated in exhibitions at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Butler Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Kapustin was an important inspiration to her niece, Louise Fishman, whose work is also included in Woodmere's collection.

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  • Razel Kapustin was a friend of my in-laws during the 1940-50's. I have 3 of her paintings and have always wanted to know more about the artist, but have found very little documentation about a woman who had to be a major contributor to the Phila art world. I just read about the show you had for Louise Fishman and so regret having missed the experience.

    Mary Gustow