Yosl Bergner (1920-2017) was born in Vienna, Austria as Vladimir Yosif Bergner. His father was the Yiddish poet Melech Ravitch and his mother, the singer Fanya Bergner. He was sent to a Jewish school of the Bund organization. In his youth he studied at a technical school in Warsaw and painting with the artist Hirsch Altman. In 1937, with the rise of anti-Semitism, the family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. Where he studied art and joined the Society of Contemporary Art, which sought to shake off academic painting in Australia. During the Second World War, Bergner was drafted into the Australian army and served in his labor battalion. After the war he returned to school for a while.
In 1948 he emigrated to Paris, France, and in 1950 he immigrated to Israel and settled in Safed, and later in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. He created works for the theater, mainly for Nissim Aloni’s plays. In 1980 he won the Israel Prize for Painting.
Bergner’s early work, from his time in Australia, is characterized by a realistic and social style. These works were characterized by striking brush strokes, dark colors and heavy impasto. Since the 1950s, his work has been characterized by the tendency to move from realistic painting to symbolic painting, influenced by surrealist art. In these works appeared images such as household utensils or symbolic figures, which reflect memories of the Jewish town. In 2017 Bergner passed away.
1937 Art School of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
Awards And Prizes
1955 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa
1956 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa
1980 Israel Prize for Painting
2006 Worthy Citizen of Tel Aviv Award, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa