“Of the many pictures of Christine Lavant that I painted in 1951, you see in the gallery the one that is perhaps the most poignant and most comprehensive, in which I would venture to say that all her forms of appearance are brought together, from the tragic to the sibylline, from the actress to the madwoman. Here she is shown with a very special poignancy, just as in another painting her femininity emerges most directly,” said Werner Berg.
Undeniably, this painting of Christine Lavant is also a portrait – the poet has been unmistakably rendered in the image. And yet it is immediately clear: here the artist is not an “uninvolved” observer. His heartfelt spiritual and intellectual relationship with the “model” allows him to achieve a pictorial statement of great depth. The portrait shows itself to be a panegyric to the two artists’ kindred spirit. Berg is able to depict more than merely the woman’s physiognomy. In his portraits of the poet, the psychological element comes to the fore; in these paintings her spiritual state is the real statement. Great congruence is sought in the approach taken to painting: the work’s disciplined brushstroke and subtly differentiated colorism are important in giving rise to the enigmatic effect that it achieves.