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Surreal Portrait by Benjamin Berlin

Surreal Portrait, 1938

Benjamin Berlin

Faces waver, melt and merge, while semitransparent geometric shapes overlap and break apart in a surreal landscape that could be a scene from a nightmare, or a classic science fiction film. The artist, Berlin, may in fact have worked in the motion-picture industry in Hollywood in the 1930s, though little is known about this early Los Angeles modernist. We do know he was influenced by Cubism; this image might remind you of some of Picasso’s paintings of abstracted faces and distorted perspectives. We also know he painted watercolors of the Grand Canyon, which could have informed the canyon-like architecture of this work.

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