Eugene Carl Garfinkle
Gene was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of art history, materials and techniques, which he generously shared with students and colleagues. He also brought his extraordinary memory and intellect to many other subjects, especially his deep appreciation for films. Gene inspired and encouraged all who knew him with his passion for art and his interest in its practitioners. His gregariousness and sense of humor made him a popular figure in art circles.
Born on January 16, 1930, in the Bronx, Gene attended public elementary school and then graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York City. He began his college studies at Queens College and later transferred to Brooklyn College, where he studied under such noted artists as Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhart, Jimmy Ernst and Alfred Russell. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Brooklyn College, Gene worked as an elementary school teacher-in Seaford, Long Island. He subsequently joined the Brooklyn College Art Department faculty, where he taught design fundamentals and served as Yearbook Adviser.
In 1965, Gene joined the faculty of the Pratt Art Institute as an administrative coordinator. He subsequently began to teach drawing, light, color and design in the Foundation Department. Gene was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1968, and was appointed Chairperson of the Foundation Department in 1983. He also served as Associate and Acting Dean of the School of Art and Design at Pratt from 1986 to 1991. He retired from Pratt in 2004.
Gene moved from New York City to Buchanan in 1976, and in the 1980s, he began his faithful attendance of the Garrison Art Center’s drawing sessions. He monitored weekend drawing sessions there for many years until 2012.
In 1964, Gene married Isabel Pasman, who predeceased him in 2010. He is survived by his daughter Rachel, who lives in San Jose, Ca. with her husband George Zioulas and their son Christopher.
A memorial service for Gene will be held at the Garrison Art Center on Sunday afternoon, April 29, at 1:30 p.m. Donations in his memory may be sent to the Garrison Art Center, Garrison Landing, Garrison, NY, 10524, or to the Schmutzig Fund at Pratt (a fund he helped establish in order to help needy students). Donations may be sent to this fund in Gene’s honor by making checks out to the “Schmutzig Fund of the Foundation Department, Pratt Institute” and mailing them to the fund in care of Pratt at 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205. A retrospective exhibition of Gene Garfinkle’s works will be mounted at the Garrison Art Center and will be on view from December 14 to 23, 2012.