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 Olivia De Berardinis  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: female figure and portrait painting, illustration, greeting cards

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Ad Code: 3
Olivia De Berardinis
from Auction House Records.
Two of a Kind, Heather Kozar, Playboy Pin-Up
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from The io gallery:
Artist Statement:

Olivia in her Own Words... "I was born in 1948 in Long Beach, California, but spent most of my childhood on the east coast.  As a small child, I was provided pencils and paper to amuse myself.  I would spend hours drawing my mother sleeping on the couch, mother dancing around the house, and in general the perils of being her.  She was a disgruntled glamour-puss, and would entertain me with terrible imitations of Mae West, Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn and Zsa Zsa Gabor.  She was a cross between Sophia Loren, Lucille Ball, and Rosie the Riveter.  She was my muse.

My father was a freelance aeronautical engineer, and is a great, funny dad.  He traveled from job to job, which made us move often.  As an only child I was constantly thrust into new environments.  I used my blossoming artistic talent to alienate new friends and teachers, using them constantly as subjects in sketches and portraits for classmates and neighbors.

I arrived in New York City in '67 and went to The School of Visual Arts. I spent a few blurry years waitressing, and living in the Village, the Bowery, and Soho.  I had a brief stint in the fine art world participating in a few lucky, incredible shows.  All I could see ahead was a long hard road swimming upstream in the fine art world.

Necessity demanded a new direction, and since I had always drawn women, I went to the men's magazines to start what I thought was a temporary road; somehow along the way, I thrived and stayed.  I met my husband, Joel, in 1975, and two years later we began a greeting card business, 'O Cards', to publish my art.  Joel and I married in '79, and he has been the greatest influence and partner in my life.  He has provided me with support and vision his vast collection of erotica and pin-up has been a pleasure to watch grow, and it's fed me artistically over the years.  We are inseparable. Joel is the silent partner, preferring to growl and grumble behind me.

I showed my new work at 'Erotics Gallery' in '82 in New York, and then in the mid 80s began a 15 year relationship with the publisher/gallery Robert and Tamara Bane. I had fourteen one-woman shows through the years at their galleries, and they did many graphic editions. I also had shows in San Francisco, Tokyo, New York, and many other cities and galleries.

In '93, Joel and I published the first of our five books, Let Them Eat Cheesecake, under our own imprint, Ozone Productions.  We are no longer with the Tamara Bane Gallery, and we are currently publishing our own limited editions.

While painting all these years, I had to keep an economic eye on what I created, but I was still able to flourish because of Joel's publishing and licensing.  I often felt 'lost but driven' through these years, but I've stayed with the theme of erotica, pin-up, glamour, and burlesque.  So my art life has been variations on a theme.

Now, I am published each month in Playboy Magazine.  Thanks to Hef's generosity, and his position as "pinup genius", I grace his pages and I get to partner with him creatively.  I supply the images; he writes the captions.  I see my career at this moment steeped in the joy of pin-up, and now I see Hef as my muse.  He has launched many of the top sex icons of the last half century, and influenced the sexual attitudes of the last 50 years.  His creation of an empire based on the joy of sex was spurred on by images from his youth from the likes of Enoch Boles, George Petty, and Alberto Vargas.

I'm trying to recreate the spark that lit his fire and keep my sensibilities as a woman. There are so many elements to doing great pin-up.  I leave just as much on the floor as there is on the desk.  It is all part of the process of being an artist, and one that I'm very grateful for.

Biography from
Olivia De Berardinis was born in California in 1948 but spent most of her childhood on the East Coast. Her father, Sante De Berardinis, was a freelance aeronautical engineer, and his work kept Olivia's family constantly on the move. Being the only child, Olivia lived in an adult world where she spent much of her time drawing. Olivia's playful, flirtatious mother, Connie, served as her favorite model and muse.

In 1967 she attended the New York School of Visual Arts. Over the next few years she took odd jobs to pay the rent but continued to paint and began to show her work, primarily minimalist oils on canvas. By 1974 financial pressures induced Olivia to seek out commercial art work, and so she returned to the skills she had gained as a child, painting beautiful women for periodicals and paperback publishers. In a short time Olivia secured regular work painting erotic fantasies for men's magazines.

In 1975, Olivia met Joel Beren, and they were married four years later. Living on Manhattan's Upper West Side, they developed a small publishing business, primarily printing Olivia's work as greeting cards. They also created another company to license Olivia's artwork.

In 1984 Olivia met Robert and Tamara Bane and signed her first fine art publishing agreement and  limited editions have since been published. In 1987 Olivia and Joel moved to Los Angeles where they reside today.

Olivia has had shows throughout the United States and Japan. 

Biography from SIGFine Art-Dorog Gallery:
OLIVIA DE BERARDINIS - professionally known as Olivia - was born in California in 1948.

After high school she attended the New York School of Visual Arts and became involved in the minimalist art movement, painting minimalist oils on canvas.

Olivia began to draw and paint pictures of beautiful women in the mid-1970's and, in a short time, was very successful with painting erotic fantasies for popular men's magazines.

In 1977 she and her future husband formed the O Card Company, Inc. to publish her work in the form of greeting cards.

She signed her first fine art publishing agreement in 1984 and had her first one-woman gallery show in Los Angeles three years later.

She resides with her husband, Joel Beren, in Malibu, California

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