Boris Deutsch

(1892-1978)
Lithuanian/American

Boris Deutsch was born in Lithuania in 1892. During WWI, Deutsch fled Europe and settled in Los Angeles. After the onset of the Great Depression, the Public Works of Art Project hired Deutsch as a muralist painter. He completed a number of sketches and murals for government buildings, including the Americas to California Life mural at the Los Angeles Terminal Annex Post Office. He continued to work as an artist, and in 1930 he exhibited one of his pieces at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.

Deutsch was primarily a painter of the figure, as he was interested in issues of the human condition. Often, he depicted the toils of immigrants and laborers in Los Angeles. His stylized figures were highly successful in conveying deep emotion.  Deutsch’s proficiency with composition and color gained acclaim in the artist community. Modernist in his technique, Deutsch’s palette almost always consisted of bold colors.

Portraits are a quintessential subject of Deutsch’s work, and the dark eyes and elongated face of an immigrant girl are typical characteristics of the artist’s work. Much like European artist Modigliani, Deutsch was utilizing modernist concepts such as loose, expressionist strokes and flattened almost cubist qualities throughout the girl’s face and clothing.

His work is held in museums including the Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Frederick R Weisman Art Museum/The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; Georgia Museum of Art/The University Of Georgia, Athens, GA; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; The Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

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