“Out of years of acquaintance and nearness, I painted him as penetratingly as I possibly could,” said Werner Berg. In contrast to many of the paintings dating from the prewar years, the individualized facial features of a neighbor are rendered here. Berg’s original fascination with the seemingly exotic rural environment has given way to his identification with the lives and destinies of the people in his immediate surroundings.
In this period Werner Berg reached a level of mastery in portraiture: psychological and physical characteristics have found a harmonious balance.
The depiction of this man is rich in detail: light and shadow describe his face and torso with a penetrating accuracy. The buttons of his vest are integrated into the portrayal, with the missing button being a narrative element that is intentionally retained as a statement about the person. The brushstrokes are unusually open, and the turquoise background is structured only by the brush’s rhythm. In looking at this painting one is reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s portraits.