Abram Belskie

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Abram Belskie (March 24, 1907 – November 7, 1988) was a British-born sculptor.


Belskie was born in London, England and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a painter and started classes at the Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 1926. Prize money allowed him to study on the Continent. Upon his return to Glasgow, he opened his own studio. He also worked as an assistant to other sculptors and taught at the Glasgow School of Art.

On November 11, 1929, Abram Belskie arrived in New York City where he was able to secure employment in the studio of the London-born sculptor John Gregory. For the next three years he assisted Gregory in the fabrication of bas-reliefs for the façade of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. In 1931, Abram Belskie moved to Closter, New Jersey, where he would remain for the next 57 years.[1] There he worked at the studio of the master-carver Robert Alexander Baillie.

In 1938 Abram Belskie's friend, the renowned sculptor Malvina Hoffman, introduced him to the eminent physician Dr. Robert Latou Dickinson. Dr. Dickinson had been a pioneer in the creation of medical models, which are used to teach students anatomy, procedure and diagnosis. The doctor knew that the effectiveness of such models relied on the interpretation of a sensitive sculptor. The doctor prevailed upon the artist, and the first fruits of their collaboration were displayed in the exhibit of Maternal Health, located in the World's Fair of 1939. Dickinson and Belskie together created thousands of medical models until Dr. Dickinson's death in 1950.

Belskie also worked with other physicians. Though never a doctor himself, he was a full faculty member of the New York Medical College, where he taught several generations of physicians. Abram Belskie was also the first forensic artist, pioneering the field of reconstructing features post mortem.

Belskie began his career as a medallic artist in 1952. For years thereafter he created medallions, many of them medical in nature. In the last decades of his life, he was engaged in the creation of reliefs depicting the signs of the zodiac, which allowed him to treat the subjects of Greek mythology.

He undertook projects for many organizations. His work can be found in the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, and the Cleveland Museum of Health, as well as various teaching institutions. He won many awards for his efforts and left a legacy celebrated in the town of Closter which he loved. Belskie died on November 7, 1988.

Belskie's concern before he died was that his works would not survive him. In 1993, the Belskie Museum of Arts and Science was dedicated in Closter, NJ. The museum was founded by the Closter Lions Club to preserve, house and exhibit the works of Abram Belskie. Upon completion of the museum, the Closter Lions Club donated it to the Borough of Closter. The Belskie Museum is operated as a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation under the direction of a six member Board of Directors appointed by the Borough of Closter, the Closter Lions Club, and the Closter Library Board of Trustees. Funding is from grants, memberships, exhibitions and donations.



  • John Keppie Traveling Scholarship, Scotland, 1926;
  • Sir John Edward Burnett Prize, Scotland, 1928;
  • Lindsay Morris Memorial Award, 1951;
  • J. Sanford Saltus Medal, American Numismatic Society, 1959:
  • Mrs. Louis Bennett Award, 1956; Golden Anniversary Prize, Allied Artists of America, 1963


In addition to private collections, Belskie's work is exhibited at:

Co-authored Birth Atlas, 1940 with Dr. Robert Latou Dickinson


  1. ^ Contillo, Christine. "BY THE WAY; All Art Is Local", The New York Times, June 19,2005. Accessed March 2, 2011. "New York City may be one of the world's art capitals, but that doesn't mean that artists necessarily want to live there. Such was the case with Abram Belskie, a London-born sculptor and medical illustrator who lived and worked in Closter most of his life."


The Belskie Museum of Arts and Science, Town of Closter, Belskie Family Archives (contributor, C.Belskie)[original research?]