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Adrian BERG 1929 - 2011

RA

Biography

Adrian Berg was a landscape painter who was largely inspired by Claude Monet. His work recorded the passing seasons.

Berg was born in north london. His artistic training was far less than conventional. His father, the son of a Russian emigre, was a clinical psychiatrist who had trained under Sigmund Freud and urged Adrian into a career in medicine. He was accepted by Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, to study medicine, but a year through the course he realised he did not want to fulfil his father's ambition for him and switched instead to read English. He followed this with a diploma in education from Trinity College, Dublin. After two years' teaching at Highgate school in north London, already aged 26, he switched direction once again, to study art in London, first at St Martin's, then Chelsea, and finally the Royal College of Art (Paul Huxley and David Hockney were fellow students and remained friends for the rest of Berg's life).

During his period studying art, Monet was re-emerging into critical and popular acclaim after 20 years of contempt and neglect in Britain, an almost unimaginable phenomenon today. The Tate mounted an exhibition of his late paintings, and Berg became inspired. Not simply by the colour, but the plan of treating subjects in series: haystacks, poplars, Rouen Cathedral and the lily pond in Monet's garden at Giverny. This gave Berg an artistic focus.

Berg was primarily a landscape painter, his work ranging from small scale sketches to large scale panoramas. Working in oil and watercolour, he used colour and pattern in inventive ways to investigate our interventions and interactions with the natural environment. Berg lived and worked for many years next to Regent’s Park, which was often the subject matter of his paintings. He moved to Brighton on the Sussex coast in the late 1980s, and despite severe arthritis could be seen regularly venturing out on expeditions to paint, en plein air, with his ancient rucksack, his brushes sticking out of the top.