Sullivan Goss
AN AMERICAN GALLERY
Celebrating 30 Years
of 19th, 20th and 21stCentury American Art
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EUGENE BERMAN

(1899-1972)

Neo-Romantic & Surrealist

by Frank Goss

Born in Russia, Eugene Berman is known for his imaginary landscapes and architectural conceits. He is also recognized for his Baroque-like stage set designs for the likes of the Metropolitan Opera. A leader among the Surrealist and Neo-Romantic artists, Berman focused on the expression of emotion, loneliness and human isolation that emerged between the World Wars. Trained in Paris, and influenced directly by the works of Pierre Bonnard, Berman was drawn to the U.S. by the legendary dealer Julien Levy and exhibited alongside Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and a young Howard Warshaw. Inspired by imaginary worlds created by Hollywood, Berman lived in Los Angeles for almost ten years during which time he enjoyed the patronage of the legendary collector Wright Ludington. Berman’s work is held by many significant museums and has been featured in solo exhibitions including 2005's High Drama: Eugene Berman and the Legacy of the Melancholic Sublime. In 1957, Berman retired to Rome after the death of his wife, actress Ona Munson.




Table Of Contents

I. BIOGRAPHY

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II. AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK

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III. PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY

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IV. CHRONOLOGY

  • 1899 Born in Moscow, Russia, son of Gustave and Lydia Berman
  • 1906 Father Gustave dies; mother remarries wealthy Moscow banker
  • 1908 Attends school in Switzerland, France and German. Travels summers
  • 1918 Leaves Russia, visits Finland and England
  • 1919 Studies art and architecture
  • 1920 Studies at the Acadamie Rancon with Bonnard, Vuillard and Vallotton.
  • 1922 Makes first trip to Italy to study architecture
  • 1924 Exhibition-with Berard, Tchelitchew and Berman's brother Leonid.
  • 1928 Repeated travels to Italy where he studies paintings of the Renaissance masters.
  • 1928 First Solo Exhibition, with Galerie l'Etoile in Paris
  • 1930 Works with French architect Moret, in Italy is influenced by Veronese, Tiepolo & Guardi.
  • 1932 First Solo Exhibition in U.S. with Julian Levy in New York
  • 1933 Spends time in Versailles & at ruins near Les Baux. Begins Apollo and Daphne Series
  • 1935 First trip to United States
  • 1936 Begins era of Theater design with scenery for Hartford Music Festival
  • 1937 Executes Murals for James Thrall Soby
  • 1938 Travels to California for first time
  • 1938 Murals for Wright Ludington, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1939 Stage Designs for Hartford Music Festaval
  • 1940 Travels through and paints the Arizona desert
  • 1943 Decor for Romeo and Juliet at Metropolian Opera
  • 1944 Solo Exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago
  • 1944 With Stravinsky & Balanchine designs Canses Concertantes for Ballet Russe
  • 1947 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship for Southwest Tour
  • 1948 Exhibits for first time with Knoedler Gallery
  • 1949 Marries Ona Munson, actress most known for Belle Watling role in Gone With The Wind
  • 1949 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship for Mexico Tour
  • 1950 Travels to Italy
  • 1951 Decor of Rigoletto for Metropolitan Opera
  • 1954 Decor for Barber of Seville for Metropolitan Opera
  • 1955 Artist's wife, Ona Munson, commits suicide
  • 1956 Publishes Imaginary Prommenades in Italy
  • 1957 Decor of Don Giovanni for Meteropolitan Opera
  • 1957 Returns to live in Rome where he remains for the rest of his life.
  • 1963 Returns to U.S. to renew citizenship
  • 1963 Elected to American Academy of Arts & Letters
  • 1965 Visits Egypt
  • 1966 Decor for Stravinsky's Renard
  • 1969 Visits Leptis Magna and Tripolitania (Western Libya)
  • 1971 Dies in Rome, Italy on December 14.
  • V. COLLECTIONS

  • Albright-Knox, Buffalo, NY
  • American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Baltimore Museum of art, Baltimore, MD
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
  • Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, CA
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus Museum of Art, Columbur, OH
  • Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, FL
  • Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, CA
  • De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
  • Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Fogg Art Museum - Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Gallery of Surrealism, New York, NY
  • Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Wanshington, DC
  • Lakeview Museum of Arts, Peoria, IL
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
  • Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Metropolitan Opera Archives, New York, NY
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, GA
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
  • New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
  • Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
  • North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
  • Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
  • Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
  • Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
  • Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT
  • San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
  • Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
  • Southhampton Art Gallery, Southamtpon, IT
  • Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Vassar College Musem, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VG
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of art, Hartford, CT
  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, MO
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
  • Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
  • VI. EXHIBITIONS

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  • 1926 Galerie Druet, Paris, France (With brother Leonid, Tchelitchew, Berard)
  • 1927 Galerie Katia Granoff, Paris, France
  • 1928 Galerie de l'Etoil, Paris, France
  • 1929 Galerie Bonjean, Paris, France
  • 1929 Galerie des Quatre Chemins
  • 1929 Balzac Gallery, New York, New York (With brother Leonid and Jean Hugo)
  • 1929 Galerie des Quartre Chemins, Paris, France
  • 1932 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1933 Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris, France
  • 1933 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1933 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Illinois
  • 1935 Zwemmer Gallery, London, England
  • 1935 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1936 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1937 Galerie Renoie et Colle, Paris, France
  • 1937 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1938 Galerie Montaigne, Paris, France
  • 1939 Julian Levy Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1939 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1939 Galerie Montaigne, Paris, France
  • 1941 Julien Levy Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1942 Institute of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1944 The Decker-Flynn Galleries, Los Angeles
  • 1947 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • 1947 Knoedler Gallery, New York, London, Paris
  • 1949 Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1950 Instituto de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1954 Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1959 Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1960 Lefevre Gallery, London, England
  • 1963 Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
  • 1965 Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1966 Forum Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1968 Galleria d'Arte "Il Fauno", Torino, Italy
  • 1974 University of Texas,
  • 1984 Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
  • 1998 Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2005 "High Drama: Eugene Berman...", Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
  • 2006 Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • VII. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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    1. Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940, p. 473. San Fran.: Hughes Pub., 1989.
    2. Larcada Gallery, Eugene Berman New York, NY, 1971 (Exhibition Catalogue>
    3. Zwemmer Gallery, Eugene Berman, Catalogue of and Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Drawings, London, England, 1935 (Exhibition Catalogue
    4. Amberg, George,The Theatre of Eugene Berman; Carnegie Institute, New York, NY, 1947 (Exhibition Catalogue
    5. Plaut, James and James Thrall SobyEugene Berman: Catalogue of the Retrospective Exhibition of his Paintings, Drawings, Illustrations and Designs,; The Institute of Modern Art, Boston, MA; 1942
    6. Eaton, Robert Eugene Berman in Perspective; University Art Museum; University of Texas, Austin, TX 1975
    7. IMDb (Internet Movie Database) viewed November 15, 2004
    8. Prints by California Artists; Crest of Hollywood-Fine Art Publishers, Los Angeles
    9. Lovoos, Janet American Artist, Richard Haines, Painter April, 1963 (Vol. 27 # 4; pp. 50-57)
    10. Prize Winning Oil Paintings; Allied Publications; 1964

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    Alegorical Subjects Drawing 1
    Alegorical Subjects Drawing 2
    Alegorical Subjects Drawing 3
    Alegorical Subjects Drawing 4
    Announcement of Opening at Julian Levy Gallery 1
    Announcement of Opening at Julian Levy Gallery 2
    Blue Train
    Cavalier
    Mother of Pearl
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