1933 - 2013
Born Elaine Raphael Chionchio in Brooklyn on March 14, 1933, Elaine lived a life surrounded by love, family and beauty. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister, friend and always an artist. Elaine died after a long illness on Sunday, August 4, 2013, and her life will be celebrated at a private gathering in Landgrove, VT.
Elaine received a BFA degree from The Cooper Union School of Art where masters of the WPA style like Robert Gwathmey and Stuart Davis were her teachers. There she met and fell in love with fellow artist and future husband, Don Bolognese and started a personal and professional collaboration that would last a lifetime. They were married on December 4, 1954 in New York City. Together they wrote and illustrated more than one hundred books including prize-winning works such as the dust jacket for the 50th anniversary publication of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. They gained notoriety for their children's books among which are several acclaimed series on art technique and American history. Elaine was particularly recognized for her fine art printmaking which appeared in many bibliophile editions of literary classics and in more personal etchings such as her ethereal Meditations on Vermont series. While these activities brought Elaine both awards and honors, she was always proudest of her teaching and commitment to arts education.
Elaine pursued her very personal style of oil painting throughout her life but only shared that work with the public after she turned 70. Elaine's sold out 2007 show at the In-View Center for the Arts in Vermont exhibited evidence of the influence of the American Realism of Hopper and Wood. In her last show, at the Southern Vermont Art Center, "Light and Solitude: The Poetry of Country Life," her paintings sought to create a timeless evocation of the Vermont life she loved so dearly. Although they were in what she called a "minor key," Elaine's paintings lift the viewer's mood by offering an inviting stillness that we are tempted to inhabit. She will be remembered as a worthy heir to the American Realist artistic tradition.
Elaine has now passed into that inviting stillness and has found peace after a long fight. She made life more beautiful for everyone that knew her or enjoyed her work and she will be missed by friends and family. Elaine raised two outstanding daughters, Marisa and Annie, and she loved being a major part of their lives and the lives of Marisa's daughters, Lucy and Mei Lu. Elaine is survived by her devoted husband, Don, their loving daughters, two beautiful granddaughters, two wonderful son-in-laws, her beloved sister Rose and by many nieces and nephews.
Her family has committed themselves to continuing and celebrating her work and ask that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Elaine Raphael Arts Fund
for artistically gifted children through "Living for A Cause" www.livingforacause.org. All monies will be used to support arts education.