henryk berlewi (1894-1967)

Henryk Berlewi was born in Warsaw on 30 October 1894. He was a painter, designer and theorist. He studied at the School of Art, Warsaw (1904–9), in Antwerp, and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1911–12). He subsequently became attracted to Futurism and the work of the Russian avant-garde.

In Berlin, between 1922 and 1923, Berlewi joined the Novembergruppe and took part in the International Congress on Progressive Art there meeting El Lissitzky with whom he founded a constructivism group called "Blok" in 1923.

In March 1924, Berlewi edited his abstract art manifesto, the "Mecanofacture" and organised the resultant exhibition at the Austro-Daimler Auto show.

In 1927 Berlewi settled in Paris and as the 1920s progressed he increasingly adopted a figurative style of art moving away from the avante-garde going on to paint a modest number of portraits and nudes. In 1942, he left Paris to find refuge in Nice and entered the French Resistance (1943-1944).

In 1957, the exhibition on the pioneers of abstract art in Poland at the Denise René gallery encouraged him to resume his researches on Mecanofacture which is known today as one of the sources of Op Art.

Berlewi died in Paris on 2 August 1967.