Antonio Berni

  • Born 1905 in Rosario, Argentina
  • Died 1981 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Antonio Berni received a scholarship to study in Europe in 1925. He first traveled Spain and afterwards settled in Paris, where he attended the workshops of André Lhote (1885–1962) and Othon Friesz (1879–1949) at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. After a brief return to Argentina, Berni lived in Paris again from 1927 to 1930. During this time he created Surrealist works and studied Marxist politics. Back in Argentina in the early 1930s, the dire political and social situation caused a significant shift in Berni’s artistic approach. He established the Nuevo Realismo group in 1933 and began his lifelong involvement with political art, questioning social injustice and inequity. That same year Berni collaborated with David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) on a mural (Plastic Exercise). Berni’s social realist style was characterized by its large scale, narrative qualities and realistic rendering. In the mid-1950s Berni turned to assemblage, using found trash materials and industrial waste. Beginning in 1958 Berni embarked on a series of prints and assemblages detailing the plights of fictional stock characters of Juanito Laguna (a disadvantaged youngster) and Ramona Montiel (a prostitute). Berni represented Argentina at the 1962 Venice Biennale, where he received the Grand Prix for printmaking.

Artworks by Antonio Berni in the exhibition