A forgotten female painting phenomenon gets her due in a definitive monograph from publisher Cool Titles.
Henrietta Berk—Hank to her friends—was a prolific Bay Area Figurative Movement painter who burst onto the San Francisco Bay Area art scene in the early 1960s with boundless energy and glamour. A homemaker, who took her first art class at the urging of her husband ‘to keep herself busy,’ was suddenly studying with the likes of Richard Diebenkorn and Harry Krell at the California College of Arts and Crafts. Her electric paintings quickly became a sensation and within a few years were being exhibited widely in California galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Art and the de Young. Berk’s work would fade into obscurity less than two decades later after illness robbed the artist of her eyesight.
This book, beautifully printed and bound in Italy, is a testament to her legacy; the most comprehensive body of her collected works to date complete with contributions from the gallerist, Steven Stern, who shepherded her renaissance, her surviving son and admiring collectors far and wide. The book’s editorial design uses color to create movement as an ode to the artist’s sensibility; the page numbers create a spectrum when flipped and the typography is generously bright and bold. Unearthed newspaper portraits and clippings are combined with family photos to bring the full story of Berk’s unexpected journey to life.