Albuquerque Journal - July 13, 1998
Beatrice Mandelman Ribak, 85, of Taos, passed away at home late on the evening of June 24, 1998, most likely the longest residing artist living in the Taos community. Bea was born on December 31, 1912 to Louis and Anna Lisker Mandelman in Newark, New Jersey. Always an artist, her early years in the New York area led to contacts with leading artists of the day. She studied at the School of Fine and Industrial Art in Newark, New Jersey, College for Women (Rutgers University) and the Art Students League, and also studied independently with several artists, most notably with Fernand Leger in Paris during 1948-1949. Bea was part of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Arts Project, working both as a serigrapher and muralist. In 1942 she married her late husband, artist Louis Ribak, and in 1944 they moved to Taos, having come to the southwest at the suggestion of Ribak's teacher, the artist John Sloan. Bea and Louis founded and taught at the Taos Valley Art School from 1947 through its closing in 1953. They were part of the founding of the Taos Art Association and the Stables Gallery in the early 50's and through the years were passionately committed to their art and ideals, and always actively involved in the Taos art community. In their life together, they resided for periods in Mexico and Greece, and also traveled extensively, travels motivated in large part by Bea's adventurous spirit and profound curiosity about life. After Louis Ribak's death in 1979, Bea continued to travel regularly to Mexico and one to Brazil, with each trip inspiring new developments in her paintings. Bea's work reflects an intense, lifelong commitment to art, her persevering will and intent to achieve her own truly unique expression in art. Bea's work has been shown regionally in many galleries. She has shown at a multitude of museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of New Mexico, University of New Mexico Art Museum and the Harwood Museum. The subject of numerous articles (latest being Forbes, May 4, 1998 issue), a book titled Beatrice Mandelman, Taos Modernist was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 1995. She is survived by a loving community of friends and colleagues together with cousins, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Bea Mandelman to the Harwood Museum to provide funding for the purchase of works by living artists of the Taos area. A community memorial service will be held at the Harwood Museum on Friday, July 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.