South Chicago Series #2
Bernece Berkman (1911 - 1979)
opaque watercolor on paper, 1937
20 x 30 inches
Bernece Berkman grew up in Chicago, where she worked for the Illinois WPA Easel project. She studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She studied with Todros Geller, whose philosophy of art as a means of social reform she adopted. She also learned from Rudolph Weisenborn and adapted his Expressionism with a Cubist twist. The South Chicago Series of paintings illustrates this style and also social realism in her choice of construction workers as subject matter.
Opaque watercolor paint is a mixture of pigments with a smoothing agent like gum arabic and an opaque filler, usually a type of chalk. It resembles tempera paint. The artist applies the paint more thickly than transparent watercolors. White areas are not bare paper, but white paint.
Collection of the Illinois State Museum
photograph by Gary Andrashko
ISM Accession #: 1943.16/535
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