Artist biography

Eugène Berman 1899-1972

Russian-born painter and stage-designer, much concerned with the romantic grandeur of Italian Renaissance architecture. Born in St Petersburg of a prosperous banking family. Studied painting from the age of 14, his first teacher being an architect who stimulated his interest in architecture. Settled in Paris in 1919 and studied 1919-20 at the Acadmie Ranson, but as a painter mainly self-taught. Made many prolonged visits to Italy from 1922 onwards to study antique ruins, and Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Became identified with the Neo-Romantic movement whose members included Bérard, Tchelitchew and his brother, Léonid Berman. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Granoff, Paris, 1927. Active from 1937 as a designer for ballet and opera, including sets and costumes for Lifar's Icare 1937 and Balanchine's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme 1944. Moved from Paris to the USA in 1939 and became a US citizen in 1944. He spent much time in Italy again from 1950, mainly in Rome, where he died.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.50