Eugene Berman Biography

Eugene Berman




Painter, illustrator, printmaker and sculptor Eugene Berman was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899. The stepson of a wealthy banker, he attended schools throughout Europe before fleeing with his family to Paris during the outbreak of war in 1918. There, he studied under Vuilliard, Denis and Valloton, and befriended Pablo Picasso, eighteen years his senior. Despite his exposure to the Cubist and Abstract Expressionist waves, he joined a smaller faction of artists in maintaining traditional techniques with Surrealist and Neo-Romanticist leanings.

Despite financial hardships, he began exhibiting in Paris in the 1920s, to some success. He met American gallery owner and art dealer Julian Levy at one such event, and was offered a show at his gallery in New York. From 1929 to 1947, Berman would continue to show there.

In 1935, Berman came to the United States, painting covers for a variety of fashionable publications and sets for the Metropolitan Opera performances. By the time he’d become a citizen in 1944, he had settled in Hollywood, continuing to work. Guggenheim fellowships allowed him to tour the Southwest and Mexico, sources for much of his later landscape inspiration.

He exhibited internationally, and retired to Rome in 1957, where he lived until his death in 1972.