Deborah Berger

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Deborah Berger
Photo of Deborah Berger.jpg
DiedMay 21, 2005(2005-05-21) (aged 48–49)
Known for

Deborah Berger (1956 – May 21, 2005[1]) was an American artist noted for her oeuvre of brightly colored textile works created in knitting and crochet. She is considered an outsider artist and a prodigy.[2]


Deborah Berger was born in 1956 in Englishtown, New Jersey.[3] Berger was born with autism and attended boarding schools for special needs children in Texas and Pennsylvania.[4]


Deborah Berger started knitting as a young child. By the age of ten she was creating garments for herself.[5] Wearable works are the focus of much of her creative production. Bands of brilliant color: red, lavender, orange, blue and black, build, stripe after stripe, into coats and skirts, and form complex, sculptural masks and headdresses.[6]


Berger's work, over 100 pieces including wearable garments, baskets, blankets, games and masks, was discovered by her family after her death in New Orleans in 2005. The New Orleans Museum of Art inventoried the works, and archival documents pertaining to Berger's work and life, and a selection was sent to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.[5]

Collections and exhibits[edit]

Deborah Berger's work is primarily held in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.[4] Her pieces have been lent to other institutions for exhibitions, including the 2015 exhibit When the Curtain Never Comes Down at the American Folk Art Museum.[7]


  1. ^ "B Obituaries Orleans Parish Louisiana". US GenWeb Archives. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  2. ^ Smith, Roberta (March 26, 2015). "Review: A Strange and Wonderful View of Outsider Art". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  3. ^ "The Autistic Woman Who Made Masterpieces: The life and art of Deborah Berger When she died, her work was thrown in the trash. Now, it’s in museums.",, April 28, 2022. Accessed September 25, 2022. "Deborah was born in Englishtown, New Jersey sometime in 1956."
  4. ^ a b "Our Visionairies: Deborah Berger". American Visionary Art Museum. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  5. ^ a b Rousseau, Valérie, ed. (2015). When the Curtain Never Comes Down: Performance Art and the Alter Ego. New York City: American Folk Art Museum. p. 136. ISBN 978-0912161242. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  6. ^ Blevins, Beth (17 September 2010). "More on Deborah Berger, the autistic knitter". Writing Home. Beth Blevins. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Exhibitions: When the Curtain Never Comes Down March 26–July 5, 2015". American Folk Art Museum. Retrieved 7 December 2017.

External links[edit]