Bernard Childs Biography

Bernard Childs




Bernard Childs, painter and printmaker, was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 1,1910, to Russian immigrant parents. He spent his childhood in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and, in 1928, was granted a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. After two years at the university, he moved to New York to pursue his art career, studying by night at the Art Students League with Kimon Nicolaides. Childs met the Danish silversmith Peer Smed. Childs remarked: "From this great craftsman I learned the beauty of metals, the feel of them in my hands, the excitement of fashioning them and the use of the special tools that bring them to life."

Childs later mastered industrial tools and metalworking while employed as a machinist in a factory converted to wartime production. In 1947 he began his studies in New York with Amédée Ozenfant. Childs, with the aid of the G.I. Bill, moved to Europe in 1951, living for a year in Italy before settling in Paris for the next fifteen years. In 1954, while spending a few months at Atelier 17 in Paris, Childs combined his interest in metal and knowledge of industrial tools to make experimental intaglio prints, using power tools to incise the plates. He referred to these prints as “power drypoints.” Childs moved to New York in 1966 but returned frequently to France. He also traveled to Spain, Hawaii, Japan, Egypt, Germany, Sweden and Puerto Rico.

Child's work was included in numerous international solo and group exhibitions and is represented in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Brooklyn Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Library of Congress, the Newark Public Library, the New York Public Library, the Fogg Art Museum, the Zimmerli Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Worcester Art Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Bernard Childs died in New York on March 27, 1985.