Artwork by Henry Eric Bergman,  Celastrus Scandens (Bittersweet)

Henry E. Bergman
Celastrus Scandens (Bittersweet)

colour reproduction
printed on the cover of a Christmas card; initialed in the plate; “Christmas Greetings and all good wishes for your happiness in the coming Year” printed on the inside of the card with a lengthy inscription by an unknown individual; “Sold for the Benefit of the Canadian Handicraft’s Guild, Manitoba Branch, ‘Bittersweet’, “Reproduced from the original plates by H.E. Bergman, Winnipeg, Canada” on the reverse of the card
6.25 x 4.75 ins ( 15.9 x 12.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $300.00$200.00 - $300.00

Price Realized $120.00
Sale date: February 19th 2015

Dated prior to 1945 this image was featured on the cover of a publication and the Christmas cards were sold through the Canadian Handicrafts guild.

Share this item with your friends

Henry Eric Bergman
(1893 - 1958) MSA, CSGA, CSPWC

Born in Dresden, Saxony, Germany, he started work at a commercial art studio at the age of 14 and studies wood engraving in the tradition os Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), father of this modern craft. Bergman left Germany about 1912 and arrived in Toronto in Toronto in 1913. He was hired by Brigden's Limited through their ad in a Toronto paper. Later he was transferred to the company's Winnipeg branch. He married and settled down in the routine of illustrating catalogues and business pamphlets. It was not until 1922, that he developed a serious interest in wood engraving and colour wood-block prints as a fine art. He was greatly encouraged in this by W.J. Phillips and Frederick Brigden. About this time wood engraving was being supplanted by the new process of photo-engraving and perhaps an urgency to keep alive his beloved craft gave him a special motivation to develop its aesthetic possibilities.

His first watercolours were exhibited in 1924 when Charles Comfort and William Maltman joined him in a modest exhibition of 20 works taken from their Lake of the Woods sketches. During his slack periods at Brigden's Bergman would travel with Harold Foster, a fur trader who taught him how to handle a dog team and canoe. William Colgate noted his botanical and landscape prints received recognition in Canada and abroad. Paul Duval in his book on prints and drawings commented, “His exquisite portrayals of landscape, flowers and other transient details of nature are characterized by the affectionate tracery with the graver” and reproduced Bergman's “Spirits of The Past” in this publication. While engraving, Bergman would listen to the music of Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, and Ravel and once explained.”I can feel and I would like to express the rhythmic qualities of music through the lines of an engraving. There is nothing I like more than to sit during our long winter evenings and engrave a block while listening to my favourite composers....” It was fiting, therefore, that the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra featured 12 of Eric Bergman's engravings on their 1963-4 programs, the equipment and blocks having been loaned by Mrs. Bergman.

In 1947 Bergman did 14 woodcuts for James A. Roy's book “The Heart is Highland” by McClelland and Stewart. His work “The South Window” was chosen picture of the month for February, 1952, by the (Winnipeg) Tribune. Purchased by the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1942 it was loaned to the newspaper during that month and was exhibited in the main lobby of the Tribune Building.

His designs for postage stamps were suggested for use in commemoration of Canada's Centenary by Nan Shipley. He was awarded a diploma of honour in 1936 at the International Exhibition of Woodcuts at Warsaw for his tribute to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Four of his prints were in the show that year. An exhibition of 60 of his drawings, wood engravings and watercolours took place at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1940 and in 1960 a memorial exhibition of 50 works was also held there. Dr. Ferdinand Eckhardt arranged the exhibition and provided an informative catalogue. In April of 1961 the Art Gallery of Toronto held a showing of 44 years of his commercial art.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977