Boris Deutsch Biography

Boris Deutsch




Painter and printmaker Boris Deutsch was born in Krasnagorka, Lithuania, in 1892. He began drawing as a young child and remained self taught, save for a few courses at the Bloom Art Academy in Riga, where he briefly studied art but left before long due to the school's rigid stance on acceptable techniques and subject matter. He continued to teach himself how to paint, eventually convincing his family to allow him to enroll at the Kunstgewerbe Schule in Berlin. He also studied for the rabbinate for a time, which greatly influenced his subject matter and his spiritual and social outlook. 

In 1916 he immigrated to the United States, arriving first in Seattle, Washington. Three years later he relocated to Los Angeels, California, where he would remain for the rest of his life. He supported himself through commercial art and set designs for films, and in 1923 he helped organize the Group of Independent Artists exhibition at the MacDowell Women's Club, at the time an equivalent to the East Coast's Armory Show. His first solo exhibition was held at the Los Angeles Museum in 1926, which kickstarted a national exhibiting career.

During the Depression he was employed as a muralist by the Federal Arts Program, designing murals for post offices in thirteen different locations throughout California and New Mexico. Among his commissions sponsored by the New Deal project was the Terminal Annex Post Office in Los Angeles, a coveted, large-scale work, executed in 1941. In 1946 he won the annual Pepsi-Cola art competition with his painting titled, "What Atomic War Will Do to You" (now housed at the Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA). 

In the last years of his life he dedicated his time to printmaking, focusing on monotypes and lithography. He died in LA in 1978.