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bermanEugene Berman (1899-1972 ) born in Saint Petersburg, Russia was one of the last Avant-garde painters to work in a romantic realist/surrealist style. Some might call his work “Baroque” or Neo Realist after the subject matter in his many paintings and graphic work. Berman had studied in Paris under Vuillard and Maurice Denis (one of the “Nabis”) and subtle influences of those two teachers at the Academie Ranson are certainly found throughout his work.

img138Painter, set and costume designer for the theater and lithographer, his work was found on the covers of prestigious magazines like Vogue in the late 1940’s.

Some of the magazine covers can be seen on this nice blog.

Berman excelled at giving the impression of architectural detail in his often loose drawings (he had studied Architecture in Russia) and below is an illustration of a “piazza” for a book by the great Italian author Raffaele Carrieri titled Viaggio in Italia published in 1951. The illustration is from the Garvey/Hofer catalog The Artist and the Book 1860-1960 after an exhibition held in 1961 at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Harvard College Library.

That work is described as follows: “one of the more ambitions publications of postwar Italy, this volume is illustrated with some of Berman’s finest architectural lithographs, inspired by the Baroque”. No little feat as the book included 51 lithographs, most of them in black and white, dated in the stone, 1945, ’47, ’49 or 1950. Earlier illustrated books by him can be found in the Boston Institute of Fine Art Catalog on Eugene Berman.

One of the New York galleries handling the work of Berman can be found here. I highly recommend visiting this site for all you lovers of Surrealism and the Avant garde. Now back to the meat of our story.

private17 016Here is something very few people are aware that it even exists. An original painting done for the record album and signed EB in the lower left corner on the tree trunk where a figure is seated, probably the painter himself! This cover is from our collection of LP record album covers. The date of the painting is 1952.

Eugene Berman’s love of the Barogue and implied Romanticism is obvious here. A wise and well traveled man he retired to Italy where he lived for the rest of his life. As far as the music is concerned, better critics than myself have already done this for us here:

img107img108If you listen to the music you can easily understand why Berman loved doing this painting!

img108bMore on Eugene Berman can be found at the fabulous art resource site of the Archives of American Art ,a Smithsonian Institution. at this link.

Photograph at the top of this post of Eugene Berman is from Wikipedia by Carl Van Vechten.