From The Collection: Rifka Angel


If you’ve been to R&F for a workshop or tour, you might have noticed we have quite an impressive collection of paintings. This piece by artist Rifka Angel, Sonja or Remembering Dostoyevsky’s Literature, 13” x 10”, encaustic on panel, date unknown, is one of our oldest. Though Karl Zerbe, the German painter who served as chair for the Boston Museum School’s painting department in the 1930s and 40s is widely credited for his work with encaustic, Rifka Angel preceded him by several years. Angel began working with encaustic in the early 1930s and continued doing so until her death in 1988.

Born in 1899 in the town of Kalvarija in Lithuania, the second of four children in a middle class Jewish family, Angel boldly followed her father to New York at the age of thirteen. Despite long hours working in a sweater factory, she managed to attend three years of high school, falling in love with American literature, and later studying dance.

Her first marriage to a painting student at the Art Students League introduced her to the world of art. She began modeling and eventually developed an interest in painting, garnering praise from contemporaries such as John Sloan, and exhibiting with artists Ben Shahn and Louis Ribak. Angel attended the Moscow Art Academy for 9 months in the late 1920s before continuing on to Paris, where sketches of the city formed the basis for her first solo exhibition at Knoedler Gallery in Chicago in 1930.

During her career, Angel participated in exhibitions at prestigious spaces ranging from the Whitney Museum, to the Chicago Art Institute, Van Diemen Lilienfeld Galleries, and Roland de Aenlle Gallery. Her final exhibition, a 40-year retrospective, took place in 1963 at Beatric Orenstein’s Park Avenue Gallery.

Unfortunately, Angel’s early contribution to the medium is rarely acknowledged and little known. We at R&F are grateful to have her work in our permanent collection. In 2005, R&F held an exhibition of Angel’s work and published a monograph to accompany the show. You can download a pdf of this monograph here.

Learn + Connect: Upcoming Events


There are many great demos scheduled to take place in the next few months at locations across the country. Check the schedule below and consider joining us to connect with an area educator and learn more about R&F’s range of products. (Please note most locations require registration in advance.)

March 16

Artist & Craftsman, 828 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL

Encaustic demo with artist Jeff Hirst

Artist & Craftsman, 307 Market St., Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic and Pigment Stick demo with artist Lorraine Glessner

Eastern Shore Art Center, 401 Oak Ave., Fairhope, AL

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Julie Snidle

March 17

Artist & Craftsman, 3804 Fourth Ave., San Diego, CA

Encaustic demo with artist Josie Rodriguez

March 23

Artist & Craftsman, 1002 Barret Ave., Louisville, KY

Encaustic demo with artist Amy Finder

Artist & Craftsman, 555 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

Art Supply Warehouse, 6672 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Caryl St. Ama

Art and Frame of Sarasota, 1055 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

Encaustic demo with artist Shelley Jean

Sam Flax, 1495 Northside Dr., NW Suites B & C, Atlanta, GA

Encaustic and Pigment Stick demo with artist Helen DeRamus

March 27

Artist & Craftsman, 137 W. North Ave., Baltimore, MD

Encaustic demo with artist Angela White

March 30

Artist & Craftsman, 701 Northwest 27th Ave., Miami, FL

Encaustic demo with artist AJ Grossman

Artist & Craftsman, 2906 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR

Encaustic demo with artist Elise Wagner

Art and Soul, 755 Petaluma Ave., Sebastapol, CA

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

April 6

Artist & Craftsman, 751 Broadway, Saugus, MA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Village Art, 715 Hahman Dr., Santa Rosa, CA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

April 13

Jerry’s Artarama, 1109 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Leslie Giuliani

April 20

Artist & Craftsman, 7926 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic demo with artist Lorraine Glessner

Artist & Craftsman, 761 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Pigment Stick demo with artist Kelly McGrath

April 27

Artist & Craftsman, 307 2nd St., Brooklyn, NY

Encaustic demo with artist Kelly McGrath

May 11

Artist & Craftsman, 203 W Gorham St #1, Madison, WI 

Encaustic demo with artist Jeff Hirst

May 24

Artist & Craftsman, 540 Deering Ave., Portland, ME

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Image credit: Kimberly Stoney

Unique Color: a note on light*

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Unique Color:

a note on light*

Notes on the R&F Paint Making Process

Pretty early on in the discussions of our new website we began throwing around ideas about how we might capture and convey color in a different, more unique way. But how? We knew we wanted to move beyond the dry technicality of the ‘color swatch’. The flat square most of us are accustomed to seeing online and in print may suggest color but hardly captures the true, studio experience of light landing on fresh paint. Most paint manufacturers (us included) go to great lengths to inform the artist of the care and skill they employ to make their color – the premium ingredients and technology, the expertise – yet it’s rare to hear mention of arguably the most important ingredient in color and that is, of course,  light*.  

Light on top and through and bouncing back – that is the true story of color. So with that in mind we decided to put it front and center and photographed our entire color line, our ‘color swatches’,  in the natural light of our production facility so that you, the artist, can be in the room with us at 84 Ten Broeck to experience color as we do. To move around it, to negotiate glare and nuance, to allow it to reveal the true nature of what makes color – color. We hope you enjoy.  Keep Painting.