Sonya Rapoport: October 6th, 1923 – June 1st, 2015

Sonya Rapoport: October 6th, 1923 – June 1st, 2015


Sonya Rapoport (née Goldberg), artist, died at her home in Berkeley on June 1st, 2015, following a short illness. She is widely recognized as a pioneering digital artist whose sixty-five-year career bridges the gap between painting and interactive conceptual art. Her prolific interdisciplinary art practice combined her extensive research in the sciences and humanities with highly personal subject matter.

Rapoport grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, marrying Henry Rapoport in 1944. She received a B.A. in Labor Economics from New York University in 1946 and an M.A. in Art from the University of California, Berkeley in 1949. Her early career as a painter of figurative and abstract-expressionist work culminated in a prestigious solo exhibition at the Legion of Honor in 1963. In 1976 she began creating drawings on computer printouts, eventually leading to her reinvention as a digital artist. She became an integral part of a small community of artists experimenting with early computer technology, often creating interactive installations that involved the gathering, processing, and representing of data by computer output.

Sonya Rapoport is survived by her daughter Hava Rapoport, of Cordoba, Spain, and sons, David of Berkeley, and Robert of Cincinnati, as well as granddaughters, Ayla, Dahlia, Dena, Sol, and Sonia, and great-grandson Henry. Henry Rapoport, Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and Sonya’s beloved husband of 57 years, passed away in 2002.

She was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in a small ceremony attended by family on June 2nd. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to a charity of your choice.