Jason Berger
Biography
Jason Berger (January 22, 1924-October 19, 2010) was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of first generation Jews from Lithuania and Latvia, on his mother’s side, and from Russia and Lithuania on his father’s side. Speaking only Yiddish till the age of three, he grew up in the Boston suburbs and attended Roxbury Memorial High School. Encouraged by his mother and uncle, J.P.Savel, illustrator for the Boston Post, Berger’s interest and passion in painting were evident very early. As a teen in the mid-nineteen thirties, he painted en plein air regularly emulating the influences he saw in Boston. The immediate approach of the watercolors of John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer, as well as, the love of the old master and the current trends of Modernism, Cubism and Abstraction would stay with him throughout his life.

At a young age, he frequented the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston and haunted the Boston Public Library, reading all he could on painting and painting techniques. His focus on painting was recognized during high school by acceptance to the “Vocational Art Classes” at the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston where he studied drawing and composition in the afternoons. With this preparation, he received a full scholarship to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1941. Karl Zerbe, the principle painting teacher at the school, thought Berger and his classmates, Reed Kay, Jack Kramer, David Aronson, and George Sheridan were among best students.
Karl Zerbe, a German citizen, received his position at the Museum School in 1937 after a year at Harvard University. Like Hans Hoffman, who immigrated in the 1930’s to New York City, Karl Zerbe brought the tenants of European Modernism to Boston. “For eager young Americans, most of whom had traveled little—and constrained in the 1930s by the Depression and in the 1940s by World War II and its aftermath—contact with Hofmann (and Zerbe) served as an invaluable alternative for direct contact with the European sources of Modernism”.
Unlike Hoffman, whose emphasis was in abstraction and initiated the Abstract Expressionists, Zerbe was well rooted in the expressionism and spawned the Boston Expressionists. Associated with the Boston Expressionists are Jack Levine, Hyman Bloom, Kahlil Gibran, as well as, Zerbe’s students-Jason Berger, David Aronson, Reed Kay, Jack Kramer, Bernie Chaet, Arthur Polonsky, and George Sheridan. In the 1940’s, the Expressionist enthusiasm in Boston would materialize in exhihibitions of Max Beckman, Chiam Soutine, Oscar Kokoshka, Marc Chagall, and James Ensor before they were exhibited in New York City.
World War II interrupted Berger’s college education with three years in the Army, 1943-1946. Returning from the war, he graduated from college in 1948. Afterwards, with a traveling scholarship awarded by the Museum School, Berger went to Europe with his first wife, the painter Marilyn Powers. In France, Berger studied with cubist sculptor Ossip Zadkin in Paris and frequented Braque’s studio, met Matisse and absorbed the direct influences of Bonnard, Dufy, Picasso, and Soutine.

Upon his return to the United States, Berger began teaching first at Mount Holyoke College (1955), and then enjoyed a long tenure teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (1956-69). He taught briefly at Wellesley College (1957-59), The State University of New York at Buffalo (1969-70) and The Metropolitan College at Boston University (1971-72). Until his retirement, he taught at the Art Institute of Boston (1973-88).

During the summers, the Bergers traveled and painted en plein air in France, Mexico, and Portugal. After his wife, Marilyn Powers, died in 1976 of cancer, he returned to Portugal where he met Estela Cuoto who became his second wife in 1978. They eventually moved to Portugal in 1994. Tragically, Berger lost his second wife, Estela, in 1997. Berger remained in Portugal where he eventually married the painter Leena Rekola in 1999. The couple moved back to Boston, MA in March 2008. He died in October, 2010.

A prolific painter, Berger has enjoyed great success. He began exhibiting while still a student with Boris Mirski Gallery and Swetzoff Gallery, as well as the Institute of Modern Art (now Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston). The latter gave him a solo exhibition in 1950. The artist has also exhibited in a number of museums, 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: Chase National Bank, New York City; Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Rockefeller Medical Center, New York City, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

In addition to the European Traveling Fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Berger received several awards, including the Grand Prize for Painting from Jacque Lipchitz at the Boston Arts Festival in 1956 and the Clarissa Bartlett Traveling Award in 1957.

Berger continued to work directly from nature until his death always putting the picture first and feeding nature into it. This focus on combining the formal elements of color, shape and compositional scheme to make a good picture never interfered with an overall expression of a child-like joy of discovery through the act of painting.

EDUCATION
The Boston Museum School, 1949
University of Alabama, 1943 - 44
Ossip Zadkine (Atelier in Paris), 1950 - 52

TEACHING
1983-1986 The Art Institute of Boston, Summer School in Normandy
1973-1988 Art Institute of Boston
1971-1972 Boston University
1969-1970 State University of New York at Buffalo
1957-1959 Wellesley College
1956-1969 The Boston Museum School
1955 Mt. Holyoke College

HONORS
Katz, Lois, "The Paintings of Jason Berger"
Phar Na International, Inc., Toyko, Japan, 1998
Monograph with c. 150 color reproductions to be published under the aegis of The Sackler
Foundation Video: Jason Berger at the Edge of the World. Directed by Howard Posner. 43 minutes. Shown at Boston University, College of Communication, June 23, 1993; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, October 3, 1993; aired of WGBH, May 31, 1994.
Interviewed and archived by Art Archives of America, Smithsonian Institution, 1979 - 80; 1994
Who's Who in America, 1977 - present
Member of the Bicentennial Task Force Boston 200, Boston, Massachusetts, 1975
Direct Vision Catalogue funded by Massachusetts Council on Arts and Humanities, 1973
Who's Who in American Art, 1970 - present
Art New England Feb-March, 2009

AWARDS
1983 The Copley Society at Boston City Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
1970 State University of New York at Buffalo, Faculty Research Fellowship
1961, 1955 Boston Arts Festival, Boston Massachusetts
1957 The Boston Museum School, Clarissa Bartlett Traveling Scholarship
1949 The Boston Museum School, Paige Traveling Scholarship for Study Abroad
Festival -- Grand Prize, awarded by Jacques Lipchitz, 1955

COLLECTIONS
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Boston Sheraton, Boston Massachusetts
Chase National Bank, New York, NY
Smith College, Northampton, MA
Rose Art Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Rockefeller Medical Center, New York, NY
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Simmons College, Boston, MA
Numerous other public and private collections

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2009 The Art Store, Selected Works, Charleston, WV
2008 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Essential Jason Berger, Boston, MA
2008 Danforth Museum, Directed Vision, Framingham, MA
2008 Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, Jason Berger, New Castle, PA
2007 Arqué Galeria de Arte, Jason Berger Revisited, Lisboa, Portugal
2006 Ernesto Myans Galleries, JASON BERGER: THE MASTER AT 80, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, WOOD CUTS, Boston, MA
2006 University of New England, DIRECT VISION PAINTINGS, Maine
2006 Jameson Modern, The Color of Life, Portland, ME
2005 ARQUE, Galeria de Arte, Direct Vision,, Lisbon, Portugal
2005 Direct Vision, Arque Galeria de Arte, Lisboa, Portugal
2005 Galerie Katia Granoff, Honfleur, France
2004 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Jason Berger, Boston, MA
2004 Tapper-Popermajer, Malmo, Sweden
2004 Maison-Henri, Normandy, France
2002 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2001 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2000 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2000 Maison Henri IV/Saint Valery en Caux, JASON BERGER: RECENT PAINTINGS, Normandy, France
1998 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, The Paintings of Jason Berger, Boston, MA
1994 Mercury Gallery, JASON BERGER: FIFTY YEARS OF PAINTING, Boston, MA
1991 Mayans Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
1990 Art Communication International (Art Com'In), Rouen, France
1988, 1990 Alon Gallery, Jason Berger, Brookline, MA
1987 The Art Store, Charleston, WV
1986 Simmons College, The Trustman Art Gallery, Boston, MA
1982 Field Branch Library, PAINTING OF PORTUGAL, Cambridge, MA
1981 Galeria Jornal de Noticias, Oporta, Portugal
1979 Christian Herter Center, NEW PAINTINGS FROM PORTUGAL, Boston, MA
1979 MacIvor Reddie Gallery, JASON BERGER/ 37 years of printmaking, Boston, MA
1977 ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & SPORTS, Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal
1976 Brookline Town Hall, HOMAGE TO REVERE BEACH, Brookline, MA
1971 Helen Bumpus Gallery, Duxbury, MA
1967 Nashua Art Center. Nashua, NH
1962, 1972 Joan Peterson Gallery, Boston, MA
1961 Pace Gallery, Boston, MA
1960 Gallery 10, DRAWINGS, Boston, MA
1960 Nova Gallery, Boston, MA
1958, 1957, 1956 Peridot Gallery, New York, NY
1956, 1952 Swetzoff Gallery, Boston, MA
1955 Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
1954 Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA
1950 Institute of Modern Art, Boston, MA

GROUP SHOWS
2008
Small Works, The Art Store, Charleston, WV
Best of Summer, The Art Store, Charleston, WV
2006 Three Artists, Three Generations, Palacio de Galeria, Tavira, Portugal
2004 The Visionary Decade : New Voices in Art in 1940’s Boston, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
1991 Wingspread Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine
1990 Wingspread Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine
1989 Wingspread Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine
1988 Museum School Faculty Exhibition, 1980- 1988, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
1987 Joseph Ablow, Jason Berger: Boston Colorists, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
1986 Expressionism in Boston: 1945- 1985, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
1985
Southeastern Massachussetts University, North Dartmouth, MA
Boston Arts Festival, Boston, MA
1983
Visconti Gallery, Boston, MA
The Copley Masters Exhibition, Federal Reserve Bank, Boston, MA
Wingspread Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine
1982 Wingspread Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine
1980 A Centennial Exhibition, Copley Society, Boston, MA
1978 The Direct Vision, Phoenix Gallery, Concord, NH
1977
355 Gallery, Boston, MA
Paintings of Portugal, (In conjunction with Festival of Portugal and Spain)Sheraton- Boston Hotel, Boston, MA
The Direct Vision, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA
1976
The Direct Vision, Walters Gallery,Regis College, Weston, MA
The Direct Vision, The Academy of the Arts, Easton, MD
The Direct Vision, Hilles Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The Direct Vision, MacIvor Reddie Gallery, Boston, MA
1975
The Direct Vision Paints Boston, State House, Doric Hall, Boston, MA. Funded by Mass Council on Arts and Humanities
The Direct Vision: 14 Days in May, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA
Paysages Francaises, Bibliotheque Francaise, Boston, MA
The Direct Vision: Exhibition and Symposium, St. Paul's School Concord, NH
1974
The Direct Vision, New Hampton School, Hampton, NH
The Direct Vision, Point Gallery, Kittery Point, Maine
The Direct Vision: 100 Paintings, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
1973
Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
The Direct Vision, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA
The Direct Vision, MacIvor Reddie Gallery, Boston, MA
1972 Direct Vision Show, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA
1969
Museo de Artes Populares, Patzcuaro, Mexico
Providence Art Festival, Providence, RI
1967 Joan Peterson Gallery, Boston, MA
1962
Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Smith College, Northampton, MA
Institute of Contemporary Art (Dana Collection), Boston, MA
1961
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA (travelling exhibition, auspices of AFA)
Boston Arts Festival, Boston, MA
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
1956
Recent Drawings U.S.A., Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
1955
Collector's Show, Dallas, TX
Silvermine Art Show, Mystic, CT
Carnegie Institute International, Pittsburgh, PA
1954
Young Printmakers, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Carnegie Institute International, Pittsburgh, PA
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA (travelling exhibition, auspices of AFA)
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1953
Boston Independent Artists, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Tufts University, Medford, MA
Brandeis University. Waltham, MA
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA (travelling exhibition, auspices of AFA
1952
Boston Arts Festival, Boston, MA
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Salon de la Jeune Sculpture, Musée Rodin, Paris, France
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1950 Galerie Le Grip, Rouen, France
1949 Swetzoff Gallery, Boston, MA. Exhibited through 1957.
1947
Berkshire Museum, Springfield, MA
Downtown Gallery, New York, NY
Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston, MA
1943
Institute of Modern Art, Boston, MA
Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston, MA


Selected Solo Exhibitions
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2009 The Art Store, Selected Works, Charleston, WV
2008 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Essential Jason Berger, Boston, MA
2008 Danforth Museum, Directed Vision, Framingham, MA
2007 Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, Jason Berger, New Castle, PA
2007 Arqué Galeria de Arte, Jason Berger Revisited, Lisboa, Portugal
2006 Ernesto Myans Galleries, JASON BERGER: THE MASTER AT 80, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, WOOD CUTS, Boston, MA
2006 University of New England, DIRECT VISION PAINTINGS, Maine
2006 Jameson Modern, The Color of Life, Portland, ME
2005 ARQUE, Galeria de Arte, Direct Vision,, Lisbon, Portugal
2005 Direct Vision, Arque Galeria de Arte, Lisboa, Portugal
2005 Galerie Katia Granoff, Honfleur, France
2004 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Jason Berger, Boston, MA
2004 Tapper-Popermajer, Malmo, Sweden
2004 Maison-Henri, Normandy, France
2002 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2001 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2000 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston, MA
2000 Maison Henri IV/Saint Valery en Caux, JASON BERGER: RECENT PAINTINGS, Normandy, France
1998 Judi Rotenberg Gallery, The Paintings of Jason Berger, Boston, MA
1994 Mercury Gallery, JASON BERGER: FIFTY YEARS OF PAINTING, Boston, MA
1991 Mayans Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
1990 Art Communication International (Art Com'In), Rouen, France
1988, 1990 Alon Gallery, Jason Berger, Brookline, MA
1987 The Art Store, Charleston, WV
1986 Simmons College, The Trustman Art Gallery, Boston, MA
1982 Field Branch Library, PAINTING OF PORTUGAL, Cambridge, MA
1981 Galeria Jornal de Noticias, Oporta, Portugal
1979 Christian Herter Center, NEW PAINTINGS FROM PORTUGAL, Boston, MA
1979 MacIvor Reddie Gallery, JASON BERGER/ 37 years of printmaking, Boston, MA
1977 ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & SPORTS, Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal
1976 Brookline Town Hall, HOMAGE TO REVERE BEACH, Brookline, MA
1971 Helen Bumpus Gallery, Duxbury, MA
1967 Nashua Art Center. Nashua, NH
1962, 1972 Joan Peterson Gallery, Boston, MA
1961 Pace Gallery, Boston, MA
1960 Gallery 10, DRAWINGS, Boston, MA
1960 Nova Gallery, Boston, MA
1958, 1957, 1956 Peridot Gallery, New York, NY
1956, 1952 Swetzoff Gallery, Boston, MA
1955 Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
1954 Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA
1950 Institute of Modern Art, Boston, MA
Meda
Art New England Feb-March, 2009
Who's Who in American Art, 1970 - present
Who's Who in America, 1977 - present
Kattz, Lois, "The Paintings of Jason Berger"
Phar Na International, Inc., Toyko, Japan, 1998

"Jason Berger: At the Edge of the World" Documentary by Howard Posner (Shown at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; WGBH Art Archives of America, Smithsonian Institution, 1979 -1980; 1994)