The story behind ‘The Kimberly Album’ is stranger than fiction. It begins in 1933 when Yiddish poet, playwright, essayist and activist Melech Ravitch (a pseudonym for Zekharye-Khone Bergner) left Europe in search of a new home for Europe’s increasingly threatened Jewish population. He arrived in Australia with the fantasy that among the Kimberleys lied the Promised Land for his people. Decades later his son, the acclaimed artist Yosl Bergner, memorialised this journey as art. While largely disastrous, Ravitsh’s mission lives on through these images – a force of idealised humanitarianism against enormous odds.
Ravtish’s journey was an improbable one. Here was an urbane Yiddish poet in the blood red outback, an outsider in the unyielding heat. Yet, Ravitsh and to a richer degree Bergner, perceived the lived reality of Aboriginal peoples in a way White Australia failed to. While Ravitsh still harboured colonial perspectives, Bergner is renowned as the first Australian artist to portray Aboriginal people not as romantic or ‘primitive’, but as subjects of a brutal dispossession.
Bergner’s depiction of his father is multilayered. It is both a tribute and an absurdist, even cynical view of a Don Quixote-esque figure. Most bracingly however, these works recall the refugee’s plight – an experience that remains pertinent today. The truth of Bergner’s work is sometimes so dazzling that art historian Bernard Smith once asked when will we be capable “of bearing the reality that Bergner brought us?”
Bergner brought German Expressionism to Australia. His legacy persists in not only style, but the belief art can change the world. A lifelong member of the National Gallery of Victoria, a major retrospective of Bergner was held at Tel Aviv Museum in 2000. He is represented in numerous public collections and is the recipient of the Israel Prize for painting and co-recipient of the Dizengoff Prize for painting.
A fascinating and highly collectible portfolio, 'The Kimberly Album' is about Australian history, the desire to belong and a father and son. It reaches across time and space to swipe at something psychological: the longing to find home when you feel at sea.
For collectors of socially conscious, Modern and expressionist art, Bergner is a must.
Yosl BERGNER (1920 - 2017)
'The Kimberley Album' 1995
a folio of 10 hand-coloured screen prints plus a title page in a cloth-bound presentation folder
Edition of 50
Image Size: 72 x 52 cm
Dimensions: 72 x 52 x 3 cm
Signed: Each screen print is signed and numbered in pencil in margin below image; each titled in print.
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Bibliography: Epstein, Anna. Melekh Ravitsh: The eccentric outback quest of an urbane Yiddish poet from Poland. Melbourne: Real Film and Publishing, 2019.
Availability: in stock
Condition:Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image As New, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface. Image is in Fine condition.
© The Artist or Assignee
How can we help you today?
Art and conversation have always gone well together. So click on 'Contact Us', phone 0419 301 279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you need this work of art framed?
At Angela Tandori Fine Art, we offer specialist advice for custom framing. Local clients are welcome to consult with us at our Hawthorn workshop. Alternatively, we also offer online consultation for clients who are busy, located outside of Melbourne or both. To find out more, please message us.
At Angela Tandori Fine Art, we want to empower Confident Collectors. We know that starting an art collection can be daunting - markets fluctuate, trends waver and theories permeate. Our best advice? Start with art that speaks to you. Whether you're drawn to art for its audacity, power or narrative, discovering what you love is exciting. And to ease the process, we're here to help with advice, services and consultation. Start your own art collection today and tell your story.
Since 2001, Angela Tandori Fine Art has been connecting people across the world with art they love. With a focus on Modern and Contemporary collectable Australian art, we offer a platform where first-time, as well as established collectors can discover art with confidence. Always available online - we are professional so you can be passionate.
About Angela Tandori
Our director, Angela Tandori is a second generation art dealer who begun working in the industry in 1998. Armed with vast experience in auctioning, valuing, exhibiting and consulting in Australian art, Angela has honed her vision for the modern collector. She holds a certificate in Auction & Valuation practice and is a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia and an associate member of the Auctioneers and Valuers Association of Australia. Plus, she’s an avid art collector herself!