Boris Birger

Born: 1923, Moscow
Died: 2001, Euskirchen (Germany)

Painter, graphic artist. Born in the family of Georgy Birger in Moscow (1923). Studied at the 1905 School of Art (1940–41) and the Moscow Institute of Fine Arts (1941–42). Called up into the Red Army (1942) and joined the Communist Party (1942). Fought in the Second World War (1942–45). Studied at the Central/Higher School of Art and Industry in Moscow (1945–51). Member of the Union of Artists (1954, twice expelled in 1962 and 1968, fully reinstated in 1974). Throughout his entire career, remained faithful to the traditions of Symbolism, leaving the character of his painting virtually unchanged – golden brown tones immersing the picture in an atmosphere of concentrated contemplation. Portrayed such contemporary opposition figures as Nadezhda Mandelstam (1967), Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner (1974), Irina Uvarova and Yuly Daniel (1974) and Bulat Okudzhava (1978). Came to attention following publication of the catalogue of a German exhibition that was never held (1975). Emigrated to Cologne (1991). Died in the town of Euskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia (2001). Contributed to exhibitions in Russia (from 1953) and abroad (from 1977), including the Exhibition of Seven in Leningrad (1962), infamous Manège show in Moscow (1962) and Times of Change: Art in the Soviet Union (1960–85) at the Russian Museum in St Petersburg (2006).

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