Else Berg (1877-1942)
Stilleven met bloemen
Oil on canvas, 72½ x 54 cm, signed lower right, painted circa 1916
Else Berg (Dutch, 1877-1942), born in Upper-Silesia, was one of the first Dutch painters to be influenced by German Expressionism. The gloomy shapes and the expressive use of colors have always played an important role in her artworks.
Berg was inspired by many modern painters and art styles, in particular luminism and cubism, but always developed her own twist. From 1909 she spent a lot of time with Samuel “Mommie” Schwarz and they often travelled abroad. They moved to Amsterdam in 1914 and joined the artist’s collective the Bergen School, who developed a Dutch, expressionistic style with cubist influences and dark colors. Instead of using these gloomy tones, Berg gave her own spin on the style and used colors from German Expressionism: bright pink, yellow and blue. During this time she befriended Charley Toorop, whose style majorly influenced Berg’s works.
After the start of the Second World War, Berg and Schwarz, who were Jewish, refused to wear the Yellow Badge. They were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where they were killed shortly after arrival.