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The pie eaters Theme: Boom & Bust

Artist: Yosl BERGNER
Birth/Death: 1920

Title: The pie eaters

Credit Line: Acquired 1986 University of Western Australia Senate Grant Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth

The couple in The pie eaters 1940 consider a bare table, an empty plate and bottle. The title of the work suggests that they have already eaten but the bleak and barren space that they inhabit speaks of their continuing hunger. They have an air of suspension.

Josl Bergner was raised in a Warsaw ghetto and came to Australia in 1937 when it was still in the grips of the Depression. This painting illustrates a very personal and passionate response to poverty and dispossession.

Bergner had a determined creative spirit and by undertaking endless menial jobs he was able to survive and continued his studies in painting at art school in Melbourne.

Bergner’s work was the source of inspiration for many young Australian artists in the 1940s.

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