BERLIN, Sven

Sven Berlin  British 1911-1999

Sculptor, painter, draughtsman and writer who led a bohemian, often controversial life. Born in London of an English mother and Swedish father, Berlin was apprenticed as a mechanical engineer, in 1928 enrolled at Beckenham School of Art, but decided instead to pursue a career as an adagio dancer in music-halls. In 1934 and 1938 pursued art studies at Camborne-Redruth Schools of Art in Cornwall as well as other subjects such as poetry, philosophy and comparative religion. Had first one-man show at Camborne Community Centre in 1939, by which time he had begun sculpting. Although a conscientious objector at outset of World War II, he eventually joined the Army. Settled in St Ives, and was co-founder of Crypt Group in 1946 and a founder-member of Penwith Society in 1949, the year his book Alfred Wallis, Primitive, was published.

It was in 1949, that he met his second wife, a writer and artists, Juanita Fisher. After some living in the New Forest living alongside gypsies, they settled in Home Farm in Emery Down in 1958, he was able to work from a studio and workshop. Their marriage later ended in divorce.

Berlin met his third wife, Julia, 33 years his junior, and moved to the Isle of Wight in 1970, before finally settling near Wimborne in 1975. He remained prolific in painting, writing and sculpture until his death at the age of 88.

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