(1930 - 2002)
Boriss Berzins is one of the most outstanding personalities in the Latvian panting scene of the second half of the 20th century. He worked in oil, tempera, watercolour, pastel and printmaking techniques within still life, landscape, everyday life and figurative genres. Boriss Berzins is related to the artists’ circle of so-called “harsh style”. In his artwork he deals with formal solutions, which combined with tonal colouring, expressive outline and flowing line are forming composition with the attitude. Boriss Berzins says: “I like the pure thing – pure form”. He raises the significance of the form and the plane above the spatiality. The core value of Boriss Berzins art is the colour – it is bright, expressive and intense, radical for his time. Later it becomes monochrome and reserved. There is even term in Latvian art history - “Berzins' Brown”. His draughtsman skills are becoming visible in the depiction of figural plastic. With the use of a line, nude body of a woman becomes an unlimited challenge of a plastically formal depiction. He is indisputably making stories, depicting woman bathing or swimming, drawing their backs, skirt, food with the heads of pigs or chicken legs as well as musical instruments and coffee pots. In these stories of everyday life, Boriss Berzins has managed to include philosophical generalizations. “Such theme as “In the bathing house” means to paint a woman, who bathes in the bathing house. However, it has a small miracle behind it. ” Artist has left an abundant legacy – the most part of it is at the Latvian National Museum of Art.
Boriss Berzins was born in the family of servants. He acquired his first artistic skills in the art studio of J.Skucs at the Pioneer Castle. Later he continued his education in the Department of Decoration at the J. Rosenthal Riga Art School. As he has acknowledged himself, the education in decoration field had significant role in developing his painting skills fully. He graduated the Painting Department of the Latvian SSR Academy of Art in 1959 with diploma work “The Rafters” (led by professor Eduards Kalnins). Boriss Berzins worked in the magazine “Dadzis” and combine “Art”. He was a teacher at the Art Academy of Latvia, later also assistant professor and professor. Since 1961 Berzins was a member of The Artists’ Union of Latvia, also a board member and head of the exhibition department. He also worked at the office of Paining section, art procurement commissions and several positions of Art Fund. Boriss Berzins participated in exhibitions since 1956 in Lvov, Riga, Liepaja, Kuldiga, Chelyabinsk, Moscow and elsewhere. During his lifetime, he has been given many awards.
1. Slava, Laima “Boriss Berzins”, Riga: Neputns, Year 2003
2. Slava, Laima “Talk with Boriss Berzins” Studija, Year 2000