Christine Lavant - 1951

Christine Lavant

In 1950, Werner Berg met the poet Christine Lavant, who at the time was still unknown, at a writer’s conference in St. Veit an der Glan. Her poetry and her personality immediately made a deep impression on him, and an unusual relationship between two artist began. He created a series of portraits of the poet in 1951, of which this woodcut is certainly the most widely known. It was used for the cover of her book of poetry entitled The Beggar’s Cup. Wieland Schmied writes of it: “Maybe it is the large eyes, both questioning and knowing, that give Christine Lavant the expression of a person who is listening intently to a very distant and soft voice. The painter Werner Berg reproduces these eyes’ expression wonderfully in many of his woodcuts and paintings, often structuring the entire portrait around the eyes. Here the rare instance of the congenial portrait has been achieved, which in addition to outward corporeality also preserves the mind and spirit of the person depicted.”


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