Boris Margo Biography

Boris Margo




Boris Margo, inventor, painter, sculptor, and printmaker, was born as Boris Margolis on November 7, 1902, in the small Ukrainian town of Volochisk.  He studied at the Polytechnik of Art in Odessa from 1918 to 1923. The following year, in Moscow, he participated in the Workshop for the Art of the Future known as Futemas, and between 1927 and 1929, he studied in Leningrad, first at the Hermitage and then with the cubist/surrealist painter Pavel Filinov at the Analytical School of Art.  In 1928, with the permission of the Soviet government to study abroad, Margo traveled to Montreal where he worked as a muralist before immigrating to the United States in 1930.  He began studying at the Roerich Museum and two years later was teaching there. 

In 1931, Margo began experimenting with celluloid and he developed the cellocut, a new approach to printmaking. He dissolved sheets of celluloid into a viscous liquid that he poured onto masonite and then worked the hardened surface with printmaking tools.

Margo married Jan Gelb in 1941 and became an American citizen in 1943. He joined the stable of artists with the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York in 1947 and that same year his works were included in the exhibition of Abstract and Surrealists American Art at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of The Century Gallery, and he won the first of many purchase awards from the Brooklyn Museum.

Margo was visiting artist at the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1946 and in the late 1950s he was visiting professor for two years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1988 a retrospective exhibition of his work was mounted at the Provincetown Art Association. His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Boris Margo died in Hyannis, Massachusetts on July 5, 1995.