Jake Berthot is an American artist, born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1939. His abstract paintings contain elements of both the minimalist and expressionist styles. He attended the New School for Social Research and Pratt Institute in the early 1960s and has later credited a Pratt instructor, Hank Raleigh, with getting him a start as a professional painter. While the classes he took gave him a relatively little grounding in the technique or history of art, he learned much from hours spent in museums. He also learned from other artists, particularly Milton Resnick, who mentored him.
Throughout his career, his work frequently appeared in solo and group exhibitions in both commercial and public galleries such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Corcoran Biennial, the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, Beijing Art Institute, and MoMA, among others. He also received several grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1983 and an Academy Institute Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992.
During the first three decades of his career, his paintings were completely non-figurative. His style shifted in 1995, when he moved his studio from New York City to a rural community in upstate New York. While continuing to be abstract his following paintings contained metaphorical elements and had greater emotional content.
Throughout his career, Berthot decided to detach himself from the labeled art movements of his time. He expressed interest in trying “to make paintings that refuse to grow old.” His paintings were his companions as well as the focus of his life.
Berthot died on December 30, 2014.