Born in London, England and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Abram
Belskie was apprenticed at the age of fifteen to a painter and started
classes at the Glasgow School of Art, from which he graduated 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
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, where he would remain for the next fifty-seven years.
Here he worked at the studio of the master-carver Robert Alexander
In 1938 Abram Belskie's friend, the renown 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 the Whole of Man Pavilion from the 1939 to 1940 New York's world fare., located in the World's
Fair of 1939. Dickinson and Belskie together created thousands of
medical models until Dr. Dickinson's death in l950.
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
Abram 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 sign 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 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 here in
the town which he loved.
National Sculpture Society, fellow; National Academy of Design,
fellow; The American Numismatic Society, fellow and member of Allied
Artists of America.
John Keppie Traveling Scholarship, Scotland, 1926;
Sir John Edward Burnett Prize, Scotland, l928;
Lindsay Morris Memorial Award, 1951;
J. Sanford Saltus Medal, American Numismatic Society, 1953:
Mrs. Louis Bennett Award, 1956; Golden Anniversary Prize, Allied
Artists of America, 1963
Museum of Natural History; The Field Museum, Chicago, Ill; Mariner's
Museum, Newport News, Va.; Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley Island, S.C.;
Cleveland Health Museum, Cleveland, OH;
Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick and Sommerville, N.J.; Jewish
Theological Seminary, N.Y; Park Avenue Synagogue, New York; New
York Academy of Medicine, N.Y. and private collections.
Birth Atlas, 1940 with Dr. Robert Latou Dickinson