Search the Collections

Mortimer Borne
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Rypin, Poland
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Nyack, NY
Born in Poland 1902-; Mallock Sup P-29 Printmaker, painter, sculptor, and educator - Mortimer Borne was born in Rypin, Poland, on December 21, 1902. In 1916, during WW1 he emigrated to the United States with his parents. He went on to study art at the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League, the Beaux-Art Institute of Design, and with Charles Webster Hawthorne, founder of the Cape Cod School of Art. He was a teacher at the New School for Social Research in New York City from 1945 to 1967. As a teenager in Poland, Mortimer Borne won a national school competition with a sculptured head of Peter the Great. His printmaking career started in the mid-twenties with a group of drypoints of New York City, and in 1930 his work was recognized by Frederick Kepper & Co. who began representing him. Mortimer Borne's work is in the permanent collections of many museums, but his largest holding is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has over a hundred images. Mortimer and his wife, Ray, lived in Nyack, New York, for fifty years. He was a dedicated artist who produced a large body of prints and paintings. He also sculpted from wood collected and donated from around the world, but upon his death only a handful of completed sculptured pieces remained. Most are in museums and private collections. When I visited his home in 1995, it was a time capsule of an artist's life. Not long after Mortimer Borne died, Ray became ill and moved into the Fellowship Community which is a facility which focuses on the care of the elderly. For the foregoing reason, the house remained empty and nothing had changed in Mortimer's studio save for the addition of a layer of dust. On the easel in his attic painting studio was an uncompleted oil with tubes of paint and brushes at hand. In the basement his etching studio was complete with a large cast iron etching press. He had two presses, but the larger press in an outbuilding had been donated to the National Academy of Design before his death. Mortimer primarily worked in drypoint and in the twenties and thirties the majority of his images were in and around New York City. With the devolopment of Abstract Expressionism, Mortimer began experimenting with his own abstract style in printmaking. He also used the technique of three-plate color drypoints on which he had been working since the thirties. When Ray died, she left the house and the contents to the Fellowship Community. This gift included an extensive collection of prints, paintings, and the few sculptures that remained of Mortimer Borne's work. The sculptures were donated to museums. The profts from the sale of his prints are given to the Fellowship Community to help provide services for the elderly and needy at this unique community, located in Nyack, New York.