Christmas in the West Village

This painting caught my eye on the way home. A simple picture of a Christmas tree. I googled the guy, Bernard Perlin, and this is what stood out for me from his bio:

“Worked 1942-3 in the Office of War Information Graphics Division in Washington, DC, with Ben Shahn. War correspondent for Life, covering the Middle East, 1943-4, and for Fortune magazine, covering the Pacific and Orient, 1945.

“Began to paint seriously for himself in 1946, still partly under Shahn’s influence … [skipping a chunk] … Lived 1948-54 in Italy, where his work became more tender and romantic. Taught at Wooster Community Art Center, Danbury, Connecticut, 1967-9. More or less gave up painting for some years, but has since resumed.”

Now there’s a story. I want to go back and see the rest of what’s hanging there. I’m very curious to see what he painted after having given up.

What did he want to express after being quiet for years? This painting definitely has a former illustrator feel.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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