LEGACY: A FAMILY PORTRAIT
My brother Peter Bogdanovich and I are producing a documentary about our late father Borislav, his life as a renowned artist; his rescue of our Jewish mother Herma and her immediate family as WWII erupted in Former Yugoslavia, 1939; their life in their new home, the United States of America - first in New York City where he was exhibited with the great masters of modern art…
… and finally, in Scottsdale, Arizona, commissioned by the Chairman of the Valley National Bank, Walter Reed Bimson, to paint murals of Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Plains Native American scenes during the 1960’s.
(VNB was acquired by Bank One; BO acquired by JP Morgan Chase)
The idea for our documentary was born when we visited
our father's homeland (Vojvodina, Serbia) a few years ago.
Peter received a Golden Seal Lifetime Achievement award at the
Belgrade 40th International Film Festival.
Please scroll down this page for a brief outline and visit
additional Series of Posts in the MEMOIR Blog.
We look forward to exploring our ancestral heritage on both sides and have already sent in our DNA samples to Ancestry.com and 23 & Me!
As we further investigate our ancestral origins and family tree in a journey of discovery we reveal the artistic legacy and lineages we carry forward...with our own work...and in our own families and relationships...from both the paternal Bogdanovich and maternal Robinson sides.
Our grandfather Antonije died when our father Borislav was only 11. Our grandmother Mara died the year I was born. Sadly, our father never saw his mother again after coming to America in 1939.
Borislav became an accomplished classical pianist as well as a renowned fine artist.
The Idyll broken...their little Tonka dies in the fall of 1938 due to a tragic household accident... and Hitler is about to invade the country.
Herma is pregnant with Peter during the crossing and he is born in July 1939.
Although his father tried to encourage his son to paint, Peter was not overly enthusiastic...as can be seen by his expression!
Peter became passionate for the dramatic arts at a young age and followed his heart to the stage and screen...
Anna Thea is born on the morning of the opening of Borislav's one-man show at the newly joined partnership of the Van Diemen-Lilienfield Galleries. The artist was exhibited with Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Expressionist and other masters of Modern Art including Renoir, Degas, Monet, Matisse, Bonnard, Chagall, Picasso, Braque, Dufy, Klee and Kandinsky. He was exhibited along with other Impressionist, Post Impressionist, and Modern masters including Picasso, Renoir, Chagall, Degas and Monet.
Our mother Herma had developed Asthma in NY during the 60's...during an exploratory visit to Arizona, she met Gallery Owner Avis Read.
A successful exhibition followed and the family relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1966. Our father was commissioned to paint a series of Native American Murals 1967 - 1970. The Triptych of murals donated to NAU was just returned to the Bogdanovich Collection (see slide show below).
for additional information see
GALLERY: NATIVE AMERICAN
After returning from Serbia I assembled a draft pictorial outline including the following selected historical photos and artworks.
I began to see with new eyes, the relationship between our father's upbringing and the paintings he created years later...
Borislav's brother Rastko and sister Vladislava died as children...other children were born after this photo was taken: Anca (Anna) who I was named after; Bojana; and Boshko, who also died as a teenager.
The Robinson family moved from Vienna to Zagreb in 1932. Borislav and Herma met a few years later, fell in love and married in 1937
Their first born son Antonije (Tonka) was born in May.
Borislav procures exit visas for Herma and her immediate family - father Henry, mother Rudolfine, sisters Charlotte and Ruth and brother John - to attend the 1939 NY World's Fair. They depart on the Ile de France in April, 1939; Borislav follows them to America on The Manhattan in May.
They take up residence in NYC and Borislav is soon exhibited in major galleries.
After the artist's untimely and sudden death in 1970, the family produced a series of Retrospective Exhibitions in Europe from 1975-1979
For additional information, please visit EXHIBITIONS: RETROSPECTIVES
Artworks that remained in Europe were stored at Momart in London, England. Anna discovered there were missing paintings during an inventory. These missing paintings will be investigated for the documentary, in hopes of locating them.
For additional information, visit GALLERY: MISSING
After a hiatus of 30 years a new cache of artworks were presented at Trigg Ison Fine Art:
The family tree has many branches and progeny on both sides of the family. Additional volumes of biographical photographs, gallery brochures, correspondence, interviews, videos and other biographical materials are in process of being archived. Selections will continue to be posted on this website and included in our documentary.
Peter taped interviews with our mother Herma several months before she passed away in 1979. Our mother had spearheaded the 1975-1979 retrospective exhibitions in Europe, producing many additional frames that her sister (our Aunt Charlotte) and I also assisted her in making.
Writer/cousin Carla Stockton (daughter of Aunt Charlotte) also recorded discussions with our mother and is further researching and compiling information regarding our mothers' Robinson side of the family - our Jewish heritage.
Cousin Dr. Rene' Gandolfi has scanned hundreds of biographical Robinson family photographs. His late mother (our aunt Ruth) was our mother's youngest sister.
On the Bogdanovich side, fine artist/cousin Fedja Soretić and other family members can provide information, materials and photographs from early days in Former Yugoslavia. The Bogdanovich family roots stem from the Vojvodina area of Serbia, Novi Sad, and Ruma - the Ruma Museum has volumes of biographical information. The Bogdanovich Family had been long time Patrons of the Arts.
I am forever grateful to my cousins who continue to provide their love, knowledge and support towards documenting and archiving the history of our ever-growing family TREE...