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Boris Margo
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Wolotschick Ukraine
Death Date: 
Painter and printmaker. Born in Wolotschisk, Russia in 1902. Studied in Russia. Inventor of cellocut process for making prints in 1931. Has been visiting professor and artist in residence at several U. S. institutions. Born in Wolotschick Ukraine in 1902, Boris Margo grew up in a middle class family with four other siblings. He became interested in painting at an early age, but revolutionary movements in Russia made materials scarce. In 1918, Margo received a scholarship to study at the Polytechnik Art School in Odessa, where he encountered formal training and figure drawing for the first time. When he executed a stylized drawing of a nude, the young artist was reprimanded by his instructor. Nevertheless, this event revealed his creative tendencies. Margo participated in Futemus constructivist workshop in Moscow before moving to Leningrad in 1927 to study under Pavel Filinov (1888-1943). Filonov taught a curriculum based on creative expression and surrealist tendencies, which engaged Margo in applying more automatic thinking to his work. Margo graduated from the Polytechnik in 1928 and moved to Montreal Canada after receiving a government permit to study abroad. Previous experience as a mural painter in Montreal eventually led to his employment as an assistant to Arshile Gorky (1904-1944) in New York City. During this same period, Margo began to study at the Roerich Museum of Art, where he later became an instructor. During the Great Depression, Margo was forced to work with supplies he either made or found. Through this experince, the artist developed the cellocut as well as decalcomania. The cellotype is a printmaking process by which plastic is melted with acetate and then poured onto a backing such as cardboard. Once the plastic is hardened it can be worked by various tools into either a relief or intaglio plate. Decalcomania is a transfer process, which allows the artist to transfer printmaking images onto canvas or other surfaces. In 1939 Margo held his first one-man exhibition at the Artists Gallery in New York City. Shortly after, the artist traveled to the coastal city of Provincetown, MA with printmaker and his soon-to-be wife, Jan Gelb (1906-1978). After becoming inspired by the various elements they found along the local beach, the couple made it a tradition to spend their summers in the area. Margo pioneered several new methods that have left a lasting impression on printmaking. The Metropolitan Museum acknowledged his work by purchasing his cellocut, Floating Objects Illuminated, 1942. Margo also taught at numerous Institutes and Universities around the country including the Art Institute of Chicago. He continued to exhibit his work until his death in 1995 at the age of 93.