Burr Singer Portrait of a Man 1945 P739

An arresting portrait, very distinctive, immediately intriguing: he’s in his pajamas and dressing-gown. An intelligent, sensitive face belonging to someone poised on the cusp of middle age, the beard heavy as if he hasn’t shaved yet that day. Has he been ill, is he just back from the war? As with the best portraits, one is compelled to look, to look again, to wonder, and imagine. A beautiful work, very of its time and place: postwar Los Angeles. Oil on board 17″ x 23″, frame 21″ x 27″

Burr Singer, the noted portraitist and lithographer, from the beginning of her career was  immediately concerned with the plight of workers, the lower classes and minorities.  She frequently depicted scenes of laborers, African Americans and others, at work, or riding in buses, or in other workaday settings that place her work squarely in the humanist and Social Realist tradition in American art.

Bernice Lee Singer was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912, and studied at that city’s School of Fine Arts, as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League in New York City, and in Taos, New Mexico, in private classes with Walter Ufer.

In 1939 Singer settled in Los Angeles where she was active in the California Watercolor Society and exhibited frequently throughout the state, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Oakland Art Gallery, and the San Francisco Art Association, among others. Singer also exhibited at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco and at the New York World’s Fair. In 1942 one of Singer’s lithographs was included in the highly-acclaimed “Artists for Victory” show at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Burr Singer passed away in Los Angeles in 1992.

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