Alexander Bercovitch was the Russian Jewish painter who lived and worked in Montreal from 1926 until his sudden death in 1951. He lived a turbulent personal life, played a major role in the evolution of modern art in Canada, and was part of great events on two continents. After an education which took him from his native Ukraine to St. Petersburg, Jerusalem, and Munich, he worked on decor at the great Odessa Opera House and at the Habima Theatre in Moscow. In Canada he worked with John Lyman to found the Contemporary Arts Society and the eastern Group. He also taught a whole generation of Jewish artists, including Moe Reinblatt, Gitta Caiserman-Roth, Rita Briansky and Esther Wertheimer.