Adrian Berg (1929–2011) was undoubtedly one of the great British landscape painters of the last half of the twentieth century.
He whole-heartedly committed his life, work and huge talent to painting his favourite parks, gardens and vistas in the UK and abroad.
For twenty-five years Berg assiduously painted the view of Regent’s Park from his window at Gloucester Gate, later on his subject matter broadened to the vast panoramas around Derwent Water in the Lake District, the glass houses and trees at Kew and Syon, the Moorish gardens of the Alhambra, the reflections in the lakes at Sheffield Park and Stourhead and the flora and fauna of the Sussex coastline.
His distinctively vibrant paintings are not only an emotional response to his surroundings, but much more then that they are intellectual ideas in paint. Berg was a figurative painter in a time when institutional and commercial appetite for figurative painting was waning in the face of post-war abstraction, conceptualism and Pop art. But like his great friend and fellow RCA alumnus David Hockney, Berg believed that representational painting still had higher plains to reach and outer edges to explore. His appetite to keep pushing at these boundaries persisted right up until the end of his life.
Although Berg was unwilling to court publicity he still received considerable institutional recognition within his lifetime. In 1986, The Serpentine Gallery held a major retrospective of his work, which subsequently toured the country. In 1992, he was elected as a Royal Academician, and in 1994 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art. Most recently, in 2012, the excellent Pallant House Gallery held a memorial exhibition to celebrate his life’s work.
His work is held in many private and public collections, including, amongst others, the Tate, the Arts Council Collection, the Government Art Collection, the British Museum and Pallant House Gallery.