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Bernard Reder

Bernard Reder (1897-1963)

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.

In America, 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 I.H. Baur.

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.

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