The Dr. Samuel R. Poliakoff Collection of Western Art
at the Abbeville County Library System, Abbeville, SC
Indian Salute (#123)
A sculptor and painter of western subjects, Ernest Berke was well known to collectors in both the Southwest and the East Coast. He was born in Harlem, New York City in 1921 to a Romanian clothing designer and a Russian sheet metal worker. His father, who recognized his son's talent early on, encouraged him to pursue art. After serving in the Army Air Corps during WW II, he worked in advertising as a fashion artist before pursuing his art on a full-time basis. A self-taught artist, Berke was a voracious reader about Native peoples and the West. His remarkable ability as a researcher coupled with his compassion for Indian culture and his haunting scrutiny of the indignities that were part of frontier America, all contributed to his compelling sculpture narratives.
Copyright 2014, Abbeville County Library System. - Credits