American (1924-2010) Landscape, St. Valery
Oil on Canvas 36" x 40"
Jason Berger was born in Malden, Massachusetts, and his interest and passion in painting were evident very early. 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.
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 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.
Berger's work is associated with Fauvism and expressionism, continually focusing 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. - adapted from jasonbergerpainter.com