(1919 - 1990)
Henrietta Berk was active/lived in California, Kansas. Henrietta Berk is known for modernist landscape.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Henrietta Berk was the daughter of a seamstress and spent much of her childhood in an orphanage. She moved to the Bay Area in the 1950's and studied at the California College of Art in Oakland. Berk was famed for her still-life paintings of flowers, interiors and abstract landscapes, and her work was exhibited in galleries from New York to Tokyo. Celebrities including Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards, Kim Novak and Edward G. Robinson collected her works. One of her paintings, which was shown in the 1967 movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?," still hangs in the U.S. Embassy in Peru.
Berk is still remembered in the Bay Area for a 1972 publicity stunt benefitting the Oakland Symphony where she dressed as Lady Godiva and rode through Jack London Square wearing a body stocking and several wigs to "cover the entire situation," as she put it. In her later years, Henrietta Berk suffered from blindness caused by diabetes.
Additional note from Susan Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian, University of Kansas:
According to the obituary in the 1990 issue of the San Franciso Chronicle, Henrietta Berk died on January 15, 1990.
Berk was born in Wichita, Kansas on January 9, 1919 and died in Oakland, California on January 15, 1990. Family moved from Wichita to San Francisco when she was very young. Berk graduated from the Polytechnic High School in San Francisco and attended San Francisco State College and the California College of Arts and Crafts were she studied with Richard Diebenkorn and Harry Krell. Known for her use of bold colors. One of her paintings was shown in the 1967 movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? and hangs in the U.S. Embassy in Peru.
Exhibitions: Oakland Art Museum, 1960-66; San Francisco Museum of Art 1962, 1963; De Young Museum, 1962; Mills College 1965; Carter Gallery, Los Angeles, 1966; De Saisset Art Gallery, Santa Clara, CA, 1971. Collections: Telfair Museum of Art.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
AskART, www.askart.com, accessed Oct. 11, 2007; San Francisco Chronicle (Jan. 19, 1990);
Pamphlet file at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library in Washington, DC.This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.