Bernard Karfiol
Hungarian-American, 1886-1952
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Bernard Karfiol is best known for his simple gestural drawings, as well as striking portraits and nudes. Raised and educated in New York, Karfiol was inspired by the landscapes of Maine, environments that informed his scenery and early landscape paintings. Heavily influenced by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, Karfiol’s early work was characterized by tenderness toward his subjects, sensuous forms, and a soft palette of muted pinks, oranges, and blues. His travels in Cuba, Mexico, and Jamaica in the mid-1930s inspired stronger, more intense colors and new subject matter, such as Havana Beauty (1945), in which a languorous female holds flowers to her face. While traveling in Paris in his early years, Karfiol associated with Leo and Gertrude Stein and Henri Rousseau.

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