Bernard Boruch Zakheim (1898-1985)

Considered a newcomer in San Francisco’s art community in the early 1930′ s, Zakheim was originally hailed as an interpreter of Judaism. This conception of him has changed. Today, Zakheim is called definitely a proletarian artist and his work reflects the social consciousness of the man. His painting is bold, clean and honest; devoid of all pretense and romantic trumper, strong fare for those dilettantes of tender mind who fancy innocuous still-life and dainty patterns. About him controversy stormed, which is the inevitable reward of those who attempt fresco painting with social content. It leaves his head unbowed, for behind him there is a wide experience, vital and alive, in the war years of central Europe. Zakhelm is not a “studio” artist. His earliest impressions brought him, at an age when most youths are safely guarded from the harshness of reality, face to face with what Theodore Dreiser would call “The terror, the horror, the wonder and the beauty of life.” Here then, is not only the record of an artist, but the record of a man.

Read Bernard Boruch Zakheim biography in California Art Project, volume 20, part 2.CARA_V20_P2_ZAKHEIM

At a glance

Birth : April 4, 1898.Warsaw,  Poland
Death : 1985. San Francisco, California
Arrival in San Francisco Bay area : 1920
Skills :
Muralist & painter


Art education, teachers : Applied Art School Academy of Poland with Enrico Gliescenstein,
Relations : Ray Bertrand, Beniamino Bufano, Arnold Blansh, Peter Blume, Cameron Booth, Margaret Bourke-White, Warren Cheney, Rinaldo Cuneo, Ben Cunningham,  Harold Dean,  Adolp Dehn, H.L. Davis, Stafford Duncan, Edith Hamlin, George Harris,  Dr. Walter Heil, William Hesthal, Hilaire Hiler,  John Langley Howard, Joe Jones, Valeria Kaun, Rockwell Kent, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Lucien Labaudt, Gordon Langdon, Louis Lozowick, Harold Mack, Reginald Marsh, Louis Memford, Otis Oldfield, Jose Orozco, Diego Riviera, Boardman Robinson, Suzanne Schuer, Lynd Ward, Clifford Wight, Hamilton Wolf, Art Young
Institutions, clubs, venues : San Francisco Artists and Writers Union
WPA Projects : San Francisco Coit Memorial Tower (WPA), Alemany Health Center (State Emergency Relief Agency, SERA)

Resources in the Bancroft Library


Bartley Cardon photographs pertaining to Karl Friedrich Meyer’s trip to the Soviet Union and to the demolition of Cole Hall, University of California, San Francisco [graphic]. Catalog Record
Bernard Zakheim original paintings and drawings [graphic]. Catalog Record
Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson : oral history transcript : over one hundred years of service to San Francisco in medicine, music and art (1998).  Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). Online

Data Visualization : mapping of  Bernard Boruch Zakheim biography

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