Beatrice Berlin Biography

Beatrice Berlin




Printmaker and painter Beatrice Winn Berlin was born on October 3, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studied in Philadelphia at the Moore College of Art, Fleischer Art Memorial, and the Philadelphia College of Art, as well as with printmakers Sam Maitin and Hitoshi Nakazato, before World War II put an end to her pursuit of fine art. She took up a job as a mechanical draftsperson during the war and then focused on clothing design, but marriage and the birth of two children put her career on hold until the early 1960s.

In 1963 she enrolled in what she thought was a drawing class at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; it turned out to be introduction to printmaking, instead. Immediately inspired, she decided to stay, and would eventually learn every printmaking medium available at the school: woodcut, intaglio, collagraphy, and serigraphy. She eventually found her stride in collagraphy and focused on sparse, deeply embossed works with areas of delicate texture. Of particular inspiration to Berlin was Japanese modernism.

After a divorce in the late 1960s she taught drawing and painting at various community colleges throughout Philadelphia, and taught printmaking at the Trenton Jewish Community Center (PA) and the Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences (NJ). She exhibited regularly throughout Philadelphia and established a reputation as a leading printmaker there. A member of the Philadelphia Print Club, she was also invited to perform printmaking demonstrations in the Philadelphia public schools from 1964-1968.

In 1976 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, opening a studio in Martinez and teaching at the Judah Magnes Jewish Museum in Berkeley. By 1980 her focus had changed from collagraphy to metal-plate intaglio, with a particular interest in power-tool engraving and drypoint. Her subjects became more representational and she frequently depicted rocky landscapes and trees with great attention to minute details and shading. To gain inspiration, she frequently traveled alone to the Southwest to camp in the desert, photographing rock formations and old, gnarled plant life. These she would bring back to her studio to sketch and finally etch into the plate.

Between 1965 and 1989 Beatrice Berlin held over forty solo exhibitions and participated in as many group shows, including at the National Academy of Design (NY), the Pratt Graphics Center (NY), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), the Library of Congress (Wash. D.C.); and in Tokyo, Japan, as well as "Annuals" with the Philadelphia Print Club (1969, '73, '75), the Philadelphia Watercolor Club (1968-1989), and the American Color Print Society, Philadelphia (1969-1984). She was a member of the Artists' Equity Association (1982-1990) and the California Society of Printmakers (1983-1984). 

Her work is included in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum, the University of Philadelphia Museum of Art; Wayne State College, NB; and others. She died in California on August 11, 1999.