Three Birds - Bergner, Yosl

Fine Art

Bergner, Yosl

Yosl Bergner is an Israeli painter who was born in Vienna in 1920 and grew up in Warsaw. With rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonization was formed in July 1935 to search for a potential Jewish homeland and for a time Australia had been a place to consider. Bergner’s father, Melech Ravitch had been involved in the effort and so the Bergner family moved to Australia in 1937. Yosl studied at the National Gallery Art School in Melbourne until the start of WW II. The burgeoning artist had not been prepared for the plight of many struggling Australians. He felt a strong connection between the suffering of people everywhere and the Jews that he remembered from Europe. He left Australia in 1948 and after two years of traveling and exhibiting in Paris, Montreal and New York, he settled in Israel. Bergner designed scenery and costumes for Israeli theatres, illustrated many books and became a well known Israeli painter. He had been awarded the prestigious Israeli prize for painting in 1980. He was primarily a figurative artist and often included birds in his compositions which were symbolic. Carmela Rubin explains that Bergner “belongs to the generation of painters who sought to express their art feelings and ideas beyond the anatomical components of painting itself and therefore did not turn to the abstract. At the basis of their approach lies the understanding that the visual image is a more or less aesthetic representation of a meaning beyond it.” (Yosl Berner, a Restrospective, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, April – June 2000, p. 286)