After a phase in the early sixties of using intense, often red and orange, almost overheated color chords, Werner Berg turned to a very restrained and reduced colorism toward the decade’s end, a period during which he was weighed down by his wife’s serious illness. Here the compositional forms, both the three women and the surrounding landscape, have been reduced in the extreme. Paintings of this sort may well have led the viewer to speak of painted woodcuts. And yet Berg’s paintings and woodcuts differ fundamentally in their conception. Due to the qualities of the chalk ground, many color nuances meld into the surface. Individual stronger colors – the headscarves, for instance – become all the more significant, and the effect is very painterly. The great form that Werner Berg was striving to achieve is all the more apparent, because every unnecessary accessory, even the structuring rhythm of the brushstroke, is omitted.
Throughout Werner Berg’s entire oeuvre, human figures are almost never seen in action, but rather in a state of passivity or restrained calm. In Berg’s late work, human images are “still lifes with figures”. which Werner Berg selected his themes on this basis.