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Jason Berger At Childs Gallery

Jason Berger

American (1924-2010)

One of Boston’s most beloved modern artists, Jason Berger (1924-2010) expressed his joyful outlook on life throughout his stylistic evolution.

Raised in Malden, MA by first-generation Jewish immigrants from Russia and Lithuania, Berger took advantage of his proximity to Boston’s cultural resources from a young age, spending hours at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Public Library. He describes exploring the Newbury Street galleries where “there were many artists doing plein air painting at that time…and a lot of Boston watercolors”. Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent were two of the region’s most celebrated and represented artists; Berger was particularly influenced by their watercolor landscapes. And so, as a thirteen-year old, he started his career painting outdoors, often painting with friends Jack Kramer and Reed Kay. These three were offered scholarships, along with Arthur Polonsky, for an art program for high-school students at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This served as an important introduction; Berger and those childhood friends earned scholarships to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1941.

The leading teacher at the SMFA during this time was the German immigrant Karl Zerbe. A contemporary of Hyman Bloom and Jack Levine, who also from the Jewish European immigrant community in Boston, Zerbe influenced a generation of SMFA students with his figurative expressionism. Zerbe, Bloom, and Levine started the Boston Expressionist movement, largely adopted by Zerbe’s acolytes. Berger was one such admirer. However, his studies were interrupted by World War I, and he served in Europe until 1946. When he returned to complete his studies at the Museum School, he met and later married fellow student Marilyn Powers in 1947. At a time when most American artists were embracing abstraction with gusto, Jason Berger focused on representational painting, along with a group of contemporaries now known as the Boston Expressionists. Yet Berger eschewed the moody and pensive tones favored by many Boston Expressionists and instead became known for bright, vibrant, and playful canvases that reflected his personality and penchant for painting en plein air.

Berger was awarded the Museum School’s European Traveling Fellowship, and traveled to France with his wife after graduation in 1949. His first stop was Normandy, to absorb the landscapes of Claude Monet, and then on to Paris to study with the cubist sculptor Ossip Zadkine. While in France, Berger viewed numerous exhibitions and was able to meet both George Braque and Henri Matisse. With assistance from the G.I. Bill, the Bergers were able to stay in Europe for three years. While many have felt a “European” influence in his art, Berger insisted that the “sense of motion in my paintings is a very American kind of thing.”1

When the Bergers returned to the States, Jason embarked upon his influential career as a teacher. Over three decades of teaching art, primarily at his alma mater, the SMFA, and at the Art Institute of Boston, Berger encouraged students to “Always tell the visual truth.”2

Teaching allowed him the freedom to not only continue his own painting, but to also travel each summer. Except for two years preceding the early death of his wife Marilyn in 1976, Berger spent summers in painting en plein air in France, Mexico, Portugal or Spain. Following Marilyn’s death, he returned to Portugal where he met Estela Cuoto who became his second wife in 1978. From then on, his summers were spent in Normandy, or other parts of Europe and Portugal where he and Estela relocated in 1994. Upon Estela’s unfortunate death in 1997, Berger remained in Portugal where he eventually married the painter, and former student, Leena Rekola in 1999. The couple moved back to the United States in March 2008 due to Jason’s poor health.

Upon his death in 2010, Berger’s work had been exhibited in museums nationwide, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Art Institute, Chicago, IL; Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Fitchburg Museum of Art, Fitchburg, MA; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester, MA. He has also exhibited widely in France, Mexico and Portugal. Berger’s work can be found in numerous private collections, as well as in the permanent collections of many institutions which include: Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

Sources:

1. Katz, Lois. The Paintings of Jason Berger. PharMa International, Inc., Tokyo, Japan, 1997. pg 90

2. Vivian Reiss, http://vivianreiss.com.

References:

French, Katherine. Jason Berger - Directed Vision, Catalogue, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA, 2008.

Katz, Lois. The Paintings of Jason Berger. PharMa International, Inc., Tokyo, Japan, 1997.

Jason Berger website: www.jasonbergerpainter.com

Painting by Jason Berger: [Landscape], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
32×3912IN.
$10,000
[Landscape]
Painting by Jason Berger: [Green and Blue Landscape], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
50×44IN.
The Pines, Normandy #3
Painting by Jason Berger: [Garden View], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
42×36IN.
$20,000
Garden, Lisbon
Painting by Jason Berger: Room – Algarve (Portugal), available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
39×32IN.
$14,000
Dining Room, Lagoa (Algarve, Portugal)
Painting by Jason Berger: [View from Balcony], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
4412×3612IN.
$14,500
[View from Balcony]
Painting by Jason Berger: [Green Landscape], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
40×48IN.
$16,500
[Green Landscape]
Painting by Jason Berger: [Abstract Geometric Building], available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
41×87IN.
[Abstract Geometric Building]
Painting by Jason Berger: The Chair in Michael's Garden, Vueles, available at Childs Gallery, BostonQuick View
40×32IN.
$14,000
The Chair in Michael's Garden, Vueles
Painting By Jason Berger: Michel's Kitchen At Childs GalleryQuick View
3958×32IN.
$15,000
Michel's Kitchen
Watercolor By Jason Berger: [blue Pitcher] At Childs GalleryQuick View
12×1712IN.
$2,500
[Blue Pitcher]
Collage By Jason Berger: [abstract Collage] At Childs GalleryQuick View
12×14IN.
$2,000
[Abstract Collage]
Painting By Jason Berger: Bridge Over St. Ouen, Paris At Childs GalleryQuick View
28×45IN.
$14,000
Bridge Over St. Ouen, Paris
Painting By Jason Berger: Red Cafe At Childs GalleryQuick View
37×30IN.
$13,500
Red Cafe
Painting By Jason Berger: Flags, St. Valerie At Childs GalleryQuick View
27×35IN.
Flags, St. Valerie
Painting By Jason Berger: Daniele's Sunroom At Childs GalleryQuick View
57×29IN.
$18,500
Daniele's Sunroom
Painting By Jason Berger: University Road, Brookline At Childs GalleryQuick View
9×7IN.
$2,400
University Road, Brookline
Watercolor By Jason Berger: Normandy I At Childs GalleryQuick View
7×10IN.
$1,900
Normandy I
Painting By Jason Berger: [landscape] At Childs GalleryQuick View
8×13IN.
$3,000
[Landscape]
Painting By Jason Berger: Fishing Boats, Tavira At Childs GalleryQuick View
28×36IN.
$14,000
Fishing Boats, Tavira
Painting By Jason Berger: Le Falaise At Childs GalleryQuick View
18×24IN.
$5,000
Le Falaise
Painting By Jason Berger: Floral Arrangement, Or Spring Flowers At Childs GalleryQuick View
30×24IN.
$12,500
Floral Arrangement, or Spring Flowers
Painting By Jason Berger: Happy Valley At Childs GalleryQuick View
32×39IN.
$10,000
Happy Valley
Painting By Jason Berger: Almond Trees In Bloom, Tavira At Childs GalleryQuick View
24×30IN.
$9,500
Almond Trees in Bloom, Tavira
Painting By Jason Berger: The Path At Childs GalleryQuick View
32×23IN.
$9,500
The Path
Painting By Jason Berger: Bathroom, Brookline At Childs GalleryQuick View
20×26IN.
$7,000
Bathroom, Brookline
Painting By Jason Berger: University Road, Brookline At Childs GalleryQuick View
31×37IN.
$13,500
University Road, Brookline
Painting By Jason Berger: Interior #2, University Road At Childs GalleryQuick View
16×13IN.
$4,000
Interior #2, University Road
Painting By Jason Berger: Garden Estombar At Childs GalleryQuick View
19×18IN.
$5,000
Garden Estombar
Watercolor By Jason Berger: Brookline At Childs GalleryQuick View
18×15IN.
$3,000
Brookline
Watercolor By Jason Berger: Brookline At Childs GalleryQuick View
17×12IN.
$2,750
Brookline
Watercolor By Jason Berger: [artist Studio] At Childs GalleryQuick View
16×16IN.
$3,250
[Artist Studio]
Painting By Jason Berger: Factories Montijo, Lisbon At Childs GalleryQuick View
12×15IN.
$4,500
Factories Montijo, Lisbon
Painting By Jason Berger: Brookline Cleveland Circle At Childs GalleryQuick View
8×8IN.
$2,000
Brookline Cleveland Circle
Painting By Jason Berger: Untitiled At Childs GalleryQuick View
17×11IN.
$4,250
Untitiled
Painting By Jason Berger: Sunlit Garden, St. Dominics At Childs GalleryQuick View
30×36IN.
$9,500
Sunlit Garden, St. Dominics
Painting By Jason Berger: Boatyard Edam At Childs GalleryQuick View
30×40IN.
$14,000
Boatyard Edam
Painting By Jason Berger: Cafe Garden At Childs GalleryQuick View
51×38IN.
$22,000
Cafe Garden
Painting By Jason Berger: Revere At Childs GalleryQuick View
35×52IN.
$16,000
Revere
Painting By Jason Berger: Quincy Market Butcher Shop At Childs GalleryQuick View
44×51IN.
Quincy Market Butcher Shop
Painting By Jason Berger: Playing Card At Childs GalleryQuick View
59×23IN.
Playing Card
Painting By Jason Berger: Michel's House At Childs GalleryQuick View
24×30IN.
$11,500
Michel's House
Painting By Jason Berger: Swan Boats, Boston Public Garden At Childs GalleryQuick View
30×24IN.
$9,500
Swan Boats, Boston Public Garden
Painting By Jason Berger: Boatyard, Edam At Childs GalleryQuick View
48×40IN.
$20,000
Boatyard, Edam
Painting By Jason Berger: Bridge, Edam At Childs GalleryQuick View
33×41IN.
$14,000
Bridge, Edam
Watercolor By Jason Berger: Garden Of Estombar, Algarve, Portugal At Childs GalleryQuick View
20×25IN.
$4,500
Garden of Estombar, Algarve, Portugal
Painting By Jason Berger: Revere, Yellow Road At Childs GalleryQuick View
24×30IN.
$10,000
Revere, Yellow Road
Painting By Jason Berger: The Cliffs At Veules Les Roses, Normandy, France At Childs GalleryQuick View
17×22IN.
$5,500
The Cliffs at Veules-les-roses, Normandy, France
Painting By Jason Berger: The Garden Estombar At Childs GalleryQuick View
42×46IN.
$20,000
The Garden Estombar
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