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BIOGRAPHY (1927-2011)


Alfred Skondovitch is born in London, England, on February 10, to Russian Jewish immigrants. His father, Herschel Skondovitch, a tailor, and his mother, Mahlia, a homemaker, have four sons and one daughter. Alfred is the youngest.


Wins London’s county council prize for painting at age ten.


Evacuated to Banbury, Oxfordshire at age twelve to escape the bombings in London. Many children were evacuated to the countryside at the beginning of WWII.

Encounters great paintings in the collection of Lord Saye and Sele at Broughton Castle near Banbury.


Returns to London. Is employed as an apprentice stage and costume designer at the Unity Theater.


In the spring of 1945 makes a trip to the liberated Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany with a Zionist youth group. Images from this experience would remain with him and later influence his Holocaust series.

On his return, begins at East Ham Technical College of Engineering, on scholarship, in London.

Spends much time at the British Museum studying the masters.


Works on sets for plays by Sean O’ Casey and his Excellency Lord Willis.

Begins to study art at Toynbee Hall Settlement House with instructors from the Heatherley School, the Slade School, and London University.

Enters paintings in group show, “Artists of the Free World,” Knightsbridge, London, and is introduced to Oskar Kokoschka.

Assists Kokoschka with sets and costumes for Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”


Alfred in his studio

Fairbanks, 2010


Arrives in New York, with a letter of introduction to Franz Kline, from his teacher, Ms. Turner (sister-in-law of Franz Kline). Turner and Kline were students together at the Heatherley School. Paints and shows in galleries in New York with other avant grade artists of the time, contributing to the first American art movement, Abstract Expressionism. Garners positive recognition from art critics and his peers.

Attends Hofmann School in Provinceton and New York.  Paints and shows at the Art Association with Edwin Dickenson, Robert Motherwell, Myron Stout, Steven Pace, Herman Somberg, Karl Knaths and Chaim Gross. 

Is included in Ten American Painters with William de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Nell Blaine, Milton Resnick and other notable abstract expressionist artists at Wagner College, Staten Island, NY. This show heralded the New York School—a collective of artists whose radical new ideas formed a movement that effectively shifted the art world’s attention from Paris to New York City. 


Takes a bus to southern California in 1956, where he meets with students in Claremont. Continues painting and working odd jobs, including designing sets for the USC theater department. He routinely travels between New York and California, at one point diverting to Houston to help friend Percy David Bell open an art gallery.


Artist friends in Claremont persuade him to join them in going to Alaska in the summer to fight forest fires. He arrives in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the summer of 1958. For the next three summers he fights fires in the summer, spending the winters in California.


Goes to the Caribbean Island St. Lucia under the auspices of George Poindexter to manage Poindexter’s banana plantation. This was to afford him opportunity to earn money while also working on his art, but within a few months he wants to return to Alaska. His girlfriend, Patti, an airline employee, arranges a ticket for him.


Marries Patricia “Patti” Howard.


Works as manager of an engineering and architectural supply company.


Son, Sidney, is born in Fairbanks, AK.


Alfred and family move to New York City to get back into his art career. They live there for three months before realizing they miss Alaska terribly and do not want to raise a family in the rat race of New York. They return to Alaska.


Daughter, Lara, is born in Fairbanks, AK.


Works jobs to support his family, including surveying on the Alaska pipeline, selling radio advertising, and doing a weekly radio book review.


Owns and operates an engineering-reprographics company in Fairbanks, AK.

Receives Roughhouse Boxing award, “In Appreciation of Five Years of Dedication.” This recognition acknowledged his service as teacher, referee and judge, to the kids of The Fairbanks Youth Boxing Association.

Article with paintings published in The Alaska Journal.


Holds a campus sketch group through the institutes and conferences arm of the University of Alaska—Fairbanks.


The Easel and the Palette, at Sheldon Jackson College, Sitka, AK. Delivers a public lecture on art in conjunction with the show’s opening.


Instructs a painting class at Fairbanks Summer Fine Arts Camp.

Guest curator, Arts Association, Bear Gallery. "A Synthesis Perchance: Paintings from the University of Alaska Museum Collection."


Board member of Friends of the University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, AK.


Teaches introduction to painting as part of Adventures of Lifelong Learning Program, University of Alaska—Fairbanks.

Elected and serves a one-year term as president of the Pioneers of Alaska, Local Igloo #4.


Patti, in cleaning out their cache, discovers fifteen large oil and acrylic paintings on canvas from his work in New York in the 1950s. These had been stored and forgotten for four decades.


Dies July 15, 2011, in Anchorage, AK.

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