Artist, sculptor, and architect, Bernard Reder was born in Czernowitz,
Bukovina, part of Austria before World War II and a center of Jewish and Hasidic
culture. About his early life in Bukovina, Reder said, "We were born already
drunk with fantasy." His subjects were drawn from Jewish folklore, but also from
Greek mythology, the Bible, and Rabelais.
In 1937, Reder moved to Paris
and was befriended by Aristide Maillol. In 1940, when Reder was forced to flee
Paris to escape the Nazis, Maillol secured passage for him and his wife to
Spain. They were later able to travel to Havana where Reder influenced many
young artists working there at that time. Eventually a visa for New York was
obtained, and Reder arrived in New York City in 1943 and received a Guggenheim
Fellowship. In 1948, he became an American citizen.
In 1954, Reder went
to Italy to sculpt in Rome and Florence. In 1956, he was given a one-man
exhibition at The Galleria d'Arte Moderno L'Indiano, Florence, which received
much attention and acclaim from art historian, John Rewald.
Reder was exhibited regularly at The Whitney Museum from 1951. He was
represented by Grace Borgenicht, and by World House Galleries. In 1961, Reder
was given a one-man retrospective show at the Whitney, and for the first time
until then, all three floors of the museum were devoted to the extensive body of
work by Reder. The monograph from that show was written by art historian John
Today the art and sculpture of Bernard Reder is held in the
collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The
National Gallery of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The New York Public Library, The
Art Institute of Chicago, The Museu d'Arte Moderna in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and
Hofstra University, Long Island, New York, among others. Private collectors
during Reder's lifetime included, Joseph H. Hirschhorn, Vera G. List, Gertrude
A. Mellon, John Rewald,and Louis R. Wasserman.