Australian Art


AKA: Yosl Bergner

Born: 1920 Vienna
  • Drawings
  • Figurative
  • Painter
  • Print Maker
  • Realist
  • Known
  • Established

Yosl Bergner was born in Vienna in 1920 and moved to Warsaw in 1921. He studied with painter Hirch Altman in the early 30’s and arrived in Australia in 1937. He studied at the National Gallery Art School and through the painter Albert Tucker he became involved in the Melbourne contemporary Art Society. Here Berger met many artists including Arthur Boyd, Sydney Nolan and John Perceval. He painted in close association with Noel Counihan and Victor O’Connor, with whom he formed a group of Social Realist painters. In 1950 he returned to Israel with his wife, painter Audrey Bergner, where he now resides.

Throughout his lifetime Bergner has approached a wide variety of subjects using various styles and methods of painting. Shocked at people’s ignorance about the suffering of Jews in Europe, he painted a series of ‘Ghetto’ paintings highlighting the atrocities their living conditions. He has also addressed issues facing Australian Aborigines. The writings of Franz Kafka have provided continual inspiration. The resounding theme throughout all of Bergner’s work is a feeling of displacement.

Bergner has exhibited extensively all over the world, including shows in Israel, Canada, USA, Paris, Prague and Australia. His illustrations feature in many books and his artistic production extends to theatrical set and costume design, jewellery design, as well as painting, printmaking and drawing. His work has been collected by most major institutions in Australia, Israel, Canada and France. An important retrospective of his work was held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1985. At 85 years of age, Yosl Bergner is still producing powerful new work.


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