Born in Vienna in 1920, Bergner emigrated to Australia with his family in 1937 and studied at the art school of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. After the War, he returned to Europe but eventually settled in Israel in 1950. Bergner first painted landscapes inspired by Soutine but quickly created a style of his own: in the wall paintings of the late 1950s, fragile, marionette-like, figures, in front of background walls reminiscent of theatrical settings, are involved in unclear activity with kite-like masks. The unidentified figures allude to the figures of Hieronymous Bosch in their pantomime-like movements and grotesque humour. The limited color-range and stringent paint application also contribute to the drama of the works.
Carmela Rubin notes the importance of the work offered here: "The culminating example of his figure paintings, done at the end of the 'fifties, was painted for the wall of Café Kassit in Tel Aviv. This well known establishment on Dizengoff Street, which in its day was buzzing from early morning to the middle of the night, was at the time second home to many Tel Aviv artists. Bergner was one of its regulars and often reminisces about its proprietor, the fatherly Hatskel. Kassit Wall as the painting is known, was painted on six panels made to the measurements of the café wall facing the street, turning it into an imaginary arena of action whose décor is a multi-windowed Bergner wall and whose cast are the costumed frequenters of the café, along with Hatskel who appears at one of the windows." (Carmela Rubin, "Yosl Bergner - Painter", Yosl Bergner: A Retrospective, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2000, p. 257).
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