(Elberfeld/Wuppertal/Germany 1904 – Rutarhof/Carinthia/Austria 1981)
When he was a child Werner Berg already wanted to be a painter, but the way there led through a commercial apprenticeship and a degree in political science. Berg studied in Vienna since 1923 and after completing his doctorate, he finally switched to painting. He studied from 1927-29 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with Karl Sterrer and from 1929-31 at the Munich Academy with Karl Caspar. During this time Emil Nolde became his friendly supporter.
Werner Berg married his fellow student Amalie Kuster, with whom he bought the Rutarhof, a mountain farm in Carinthia in 1930. From then on he worked there as a painter and farmer. Berg achieved fame as a painter in Germany early on, but during the Nazi era his painting fell under the name of “degenerate art”. At the end of the 1930s his art was adapted to the style of the times and from 1942-45 Werner Berg was employed as a war painter in Scandinavia to depict landscapes.
After the war he returned to his typical style of planar painting with accentuated contour lines. Mostly he took his motifs from everyday rural life. For many paintings there exist sketches that Berg quickly brought on paper directly in front of the motif. The numerous woodcuts also take up an important position in his oeuvre. After the war there was lively exhibition activity of Werner Berg's works and in 1947 he became a member of the Art Club in Vienna. In 1950 he took part in the Venice Biennale. In 1956 there was an exhibition in the Österreichische Galerie in Vienna, in 1957 in the Moderna Galerija Ljubljana and in 1961 an extensive show in the Lenbachhaus in Munich.
In 1968 the Werner Berg Gallery of the city of Bleiburg was opened, which since his death in 1981 has been run as a foundation and as a museum is showing a permanent and extensive exhibition of the master's work.
Today Werner Berg can be named as one of the most important representatives of classical modernism in Austria.