Berlin, Sven (1911-1999)

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2 works

Sven Berlin was a professional dancer, performing his adagio dancing act in many music halls before becoming a significant artist in the St Ives School. He came to Cornwall in 1938 and received lessons in watercolour painting from Arthur Hambly in Redruth. He did a number of labouring jobs including becoming a gardener at Little Parc Owels which was owned by influential art writer Adrian Stokes. Through this connection he met Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo, Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon and Wilhemina Barns- Graham.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 he registered as a conscientious objector; however he later renounced his pacifism and enlisted in infantry, fighting in the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Sven Berlin was a founder member of the Crypt Group, which included Peter Lanyon, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, John Wells, Guido Morris, Patrick Heron and Bryan Wynter. He became disillusioned with the artistic politics of St Ives and, encouraged by Augustus John, moved in 1953 to the New Forest, where he lived for a time in a gypsy caravan. Sven is represented in public collections such as the Tate Gallery, the V & A, and the British Museum.