Mieczysław Berman

  • Born 1903 in Warsaw, Poland
  • Died 1975 in Warsaw, Poland

While studying graphic design and typography at the Szkoły sztuki dekoracyjnej w Warszawie (School of Decorative Arts) in Warsaw, Mieczysław Berman became interested in Russian Constructivism. Berman’s Constructivist collages, begun in 1927, also show the influence of Dadaists such as László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) and Hannah Höch (1889¬–1978). Berman often initiated his photomontages, which would become his primary medium, from personal experience. In 1930, Berman discovered the overtly political photomontages by John Heartfield in the magazine Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper). As a result of Heartfield’s influence, Berman moved away from Constructivism to use the medium of photomontage politically. With Franciszek Bartosek Berman co-founded the Warsaw Artists Group (also known as Phrygian Cap)—an organization, active from 1934 to 1938, that was affiliated with the Polish Communist Party. The group organized two exhibitions in Warsaw (1936) and Krakow (1937). Berman received the gold medal for poster design at the 1937 Exposition internationale des Arts et des Techniques appliqués à la Vie moderne (International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life) in Paris. He spent World War II in the Soviet Union, where he contributed to the Polish-language Soviet occupation newspaper Red Banner. After the war he published satirical drawings and photomontages in magazines like Szpilki (Pins), and illustrated writings by Stanisław Jerzy Lec.

Artworks by Mieczysław Berman in the exhibition