Paul S. Berry
(1915 - 1997)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Art Patrons' Purchase Award, 1952 Rochester - Finger Lakes Exhibition
Location: Not currently on view
For many years, works from the annual Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition were purchased by MAG for the permanent collection. Fishwife, by Syracuse artist Paul S. Berry, is an example of such an acquisition made from the 1952 show. Its survival may rest on the fact that it entered the museum’s collection so soon after it was painted, as every August the artist would evaluate the contents of his studio and destroy anything that wasn’t up to his exacting standards.
According to Berry’s widow, Fishwife is painted in a style quite different from most of his work. A turbaned Haitian woman lifts an enormous, wide-eyed fish from a wicker basket; the diagonal line of her muscular arm echoes the ramshackle roofline of the building behind her. The influence of photography is seen in the arm of a third person poking in from the left side of the composition.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]