Henryk Berlewi
Polish, 1894-1967
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
A Human Document: Selections from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry,
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Though he is primarily remembered for his optically complex and illusionistic geometric abstractions that paved the way for Op Art, Henryk Berlewi was a painter, graphic designer, and theorist who crisscrossed artistic boundaries throughout the course of a dynamic career. In addition to his proto-Op Art paintings, Berlewi produced sensitive portraits, figurative works, still lifes, and landscapes, as well as bold, pioneering work in typography. Immersed in the cultural ferment of prewar Warsaw, Berlin, and Paris, and drawing formative influence from El Lissitzky, Berlewi developed a theory of abstract art and design that he called “Mechano-Faktura,” in which he linked art and machines. This connection between the manmade and the mechanical can be seen in the hard-edged geometric forms that fill his abstract paintings, as well as in the graphic punch and dynamism of his typography.

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