Hristo Berberov (1875 - 1948) - In The Beginning
Hristo Berberov - It The Beginning
"We also do not know what forced the editors to prefer phototype for the reproduction of the paintings: the cheapness of this print or the lack of engravers for the time being." If it is the first reason, it is very unfortunate that such a magazine maintained by a whole company and with such pretensions gives way even at the first step in front of such an insignificant obstacle; that the second reason is not at all excusable, because we are not the only ones who take clichés from abroad...".
With these words as early as 1895, Hristo Berberov - then twenty years old - expressed his early interest in reproduction techniques, reflecting on the editorship of the magazine "Izkustvo" (original spelling "Iskustvo"). In the following years, he experimented with printed graphics but it was not until the Jubilee Exhibition of the State Drawing School in 1906 that he exhibited some of the etchings he had been working on until then. One of them - "They came all enraged" - was reproduced in the album part of the Second Illustrated Yearbook of the State Drawing School and in 1907 it was one of the works with which the artist was presented at the Balkan Exhibition in London.
A carefully preserved, original print of this very early etching has reached us today and can be found among the printed graphics and drawings, part of the exhibition "Hristo Berberov - In The Beginning", presented by Galler Loran. Working carefully with the author's earliest known etchings the gallery team turns to the beginning of using this technique in our country, only a few years later applied in Bulgaria by Stefan Badzov, Yosif Piter, and Petar Morozov.
Among the works included in the exhibition is the etching "Molerov" from 1903, which is the earliest dated printed graphic by Hristo Berberov and probably depicts the revolutionary Simeon Molerov during a march. Probably presented at the exhibition in London under the name "Rebel", today the National Gallery in Sofia has a copy of this work.
Some of the titles of the etchings shown in London do not help to connect them with the graphic prints we know today and are included in the exhibition "Hristo Berberov - In The Beginning" - these are three female portraits, "St. Knyaz Boris", "Wrestlers", "Rila Cowshed" ("In the forest"), "Blind gypsy", "Man Smoking a Pipe" ("Smoker"). All of them are finely executed, mostly in a small format (with the exception of "St. Knyaz Boris") - with computer etching and aquatint techniques, some additionally hand-colored. Also of interest are the preserved pencil drawings for some of the printed graphics - "Rila Cowshed", "St. Knyaz Boris', 'Our Crippled Dog' and 'Old Horse' - print projects that provide valuable information about the artist's way of working.
The gracefully finished and full of poetic feeling women's images, presented in the exhibition "Hristo Berberov - In The Beginning", are presented as silhouettes - at that time, not so common approach to portraiture in our country - even more so when using the means of printed graphics. The figures in most cases are devoid of gestures - pensive and absorbed, their character and psychological state are conveyed mostly through the gaze. Set against a neutral, even flat background, the details of their clothing and accessories are reduced to portraying those elements that correspond to emphasizing their tenderness - delicate lace, delicate embellishments, ethereal ribbons and almost indistinguishable elements woven into the perfectly styled hairstyles.
The exhibition draws attention to Hristo Berberov's interest not only in the portrait (here we should mention the fine work on the sketch "Jesus Christ") but also in the human figure and its manifestation in drawing by presenting two sketches - female figures, as well as three nude male bodies - possibly academic assignments.
Including landscape paintings as well as religious subjects - among them "Patriarch Macarius" - a preparatory drawing for the mural "Exaltation of the Holy Cross" from the "St. Alexander Nevsky" Cathedral in Sofia, the exhibition "Hristo Berberov - In The Beginning" comprehensively covers the thematic spectrum of the artist's creative interest but presenting it with the means of drawing and printed graphics. Gallery Loran presents the curent exhibition again in the spacious salon of the Gallery Contrast at 49 "Tsar Samuil" street in Sofia. All works can also be seen at our well-known website www.galleryloran.com