Věroslav Bergr, painter and sculptor, is one of the typical loners of the Czech art scene, a fact which makes it difficult to categorise his work within the Czech creative context. He maintained a distance from the main currents surrounding him all of his life. The only exception to this was his participation in the group A 59, which he co-founded during the relaxed atmosphere of the late fifties along with J. Hampl and other now mostly forgotten artists like M. Křištá, V. Mařatá, B. Zahradil and O. Fiedler. Although the group only lasted until 1965, it managed to organise three exhibitions. The first was a private show at Zahradil’s studio in Karlín, the second took place in 1963 in the New World street in Prague’s Lesser Quarter and was entitled Exhibition on the Wall, and the third was held in a gallery in Ostrov nad Ohří in 1965 in parallel with the exhibition underway by the Šmidrové group. Bergr’s friendship with J. Hampl, himself a friend of V. Boudník, a protagonist of one of the branches of Czech post-war abstraction, led Bergr to abstraction and structural technique. Bergr’s creative work directly reflects his life philosophy and creative approach. He did not give priority to a certain expressive form but moved between subjectivity and abstraction, finding a synthesis of both approaches in his final paintings. Lyrical landscapes alternate over the years with fantasy visions containing moral overtones, and some of his work is the creative transposition of music. Early on he was inspired by the impressionist music of M. Ravel, C. Debussy and L. Janáček. In an extensive cycle of abstract structural paintings created between 1958 and 1970 he attempted to find a reflection of the music of Gustav Mahler. From the middle of the fifties Bergr also concentrated on wood sculpture. Having sought the expressive possibilities of wood in his early abstract sculptures, in the sixties he arrived at the final form of the figural compositions, the result being a kind of “sculptural etude”. In the seventies and eighties he moved to biomorphous wooden sculptures and ensembles of graphic work and drawings, in which the constant threat of military and ecological catastrophe can be perceived. Bergr’s free creative output has its counterpart in illustrations. It was this that made him famous as an artists and illustrator. His illustrative work was closely related to the work of his wife, Zdenka, who wrote poetry and created outstanding translations. Bergr mainly illustrates poetry and lyrical prose, Russian prose writers and French poets alongside Czech authors. At present he has illustrated more than fifty books. Bergr has been again painting since the start of the nineties and has updated several of his original themes. In the paintings of the last two years he has been attempting to deal with the recent loss of his life partner.
2008 Věroslav Bergr, malíř, sochař, grafik, Oftis Ústí nad Orlicí
1992 Věroslav Bergr, Astra