Sketches Nr. 98

Werner Berg said of his sketches: “Whoever knows me knows that when I express myself with my sketchbook I am completely a receiver, a sketcher who has fully abandoned himself to what he sees before him. The sketch is not a recording of individual elements, not a notation: the image shoots together in the sketch. I always like to quote the extraordinarily intelligent critic Karl Einstein, who committed suicide in exile, and who once said of a painter: ‘He invents impressively before nature.’ Of course that is in and of itself nonsense, it is absurd. Either one invents, or one receives impressions before nature. And yet it is right, and I also apply it to myself, not on a scale of values, but simply as a fact. As long as I stand there, the images shoot together and transform themselves, everything transforms itself. There are sketches that lead directly to the painting – often so directly that I myself am astonished – and then there are sketches that I put aside, where a painting might grow out of them years later. The more spontaneous, the stronger the feeling is, the clearer my consciousness is in the execution. It is not at all so that these sketches are records of individual elements. They are basically a collection of paintings, where spontaneously on the smallest scale everything is contained in the seed. I have always had an advantage in having to build up my paintings from the smallest impressions of nature – even though one might regret not having captured more. In building up a painting from a sketch, one must create its form, its relationships, its color chord anew.”


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