Born in 1909 in Stockholm, Sweden
Lived and worked in France
Died in 1987 in Grasse, France

Anna-Eva BERGMAN

Anna-Eva Bergman was born in Stockholm on May 29, 1909 to a Norwegian mother and a Swedish father. Her parents separated six months after she was born and her mother brought her to Norway where she later studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo (1927) and at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna (1928). Bergman’s writings and drawings show her sense of humor and observation, and demonstrate a virtuosic talent for drawing. Later, she would prove herself as an illustrator and journalist.
In April 1929 she moved to Paris and enrolled at the André Lhote Academy where she met Hans Hartung. They got married the same year in Dresden. From 1933 to 1934, the couple lived on the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands. The paintings and watercolors of this period show Bergman’s interest in the golden ratio and architecture, and foreshadow the simple, constructed forms of her future work.

After divorcing Hartung in 1938, Bergman returned to Norway where, up to 1945, she devoted herself mainly to illustration and writing. In 1946, she committed wholeheartedly to painting again and since then she began to paint with a non-figurative approach. Line and rhythm became fundamental. This period marks a major turning point in her artistic creation: she was inventing and building a singular universe little by little. She produced her first painting in gold leaf and definitively abandoned illustration.

During the summer of 1950, Bergman took a boat trip along the Norwegian coast, visiting the Lofoten Islands and Finnmark. This trip was decisive in the evolution of her painting. With the tempera technique, she rediscovered the transparency of the landscapes and the light of the midnight sun. In 1951, following several summers spent in Citadelløya (southern Norway), Bergman produced paintings and drawings depicting the structure of rocks worn by the sea. From this series, which she called Fragments of an Island in Norway, came her first motif: stone (1952). This is a major transition in her work. Her painting then evolved towards the search for a limited number of simple motifs.

In 1952, Bergman moved to Paris and found Hans Hartung again. They remarried in 1957.

In 1958, in a series of works on paper of the same format, in tempera and metal leaf, Bergman used for the first time in painting the repertoire of forms that she had developed in her work since 1952: stone, moon, star, planet, mountain, stele, tree, tomb, valley, ship, prow and mirror. These archetypal forms inspired by Scandinavian nature and the powerful Nordic light would become the central elements of Bergman’s work.
In 1964, Bergman and Hartung traveled by boat along the Norwegian coast, past the North Cape. For several years, Bergman would use the sketches and photographs from this trip to in her work.

The couple moved to Antibes in 1973 where together they designed their house and studios which later became the Hartung-Bergman Foundation. Bergman’s work evolved towards increasingly simpler forms and a restricted color palette. She abandoned the construction of her paintings based on the golden ratio and added two themes to her vocabulary of forms: waves and rain.
Anna-Eva Bergman died on Friday, July 24, 1987 at the hospital in Grasse.

The latest solo exhibitions were held at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, in 2021, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, France, in 2020, and at the Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany, in 2018. She had many solo exhibitions in Norway, such as in 1969 at the museums of Oslo and Bergen, in 1979 at the Henie-Onstad Foundation and also in Sweden, Finland and Italy, at the Museo Civico of Turin in 1967; in the Biennial of São Paulo in 1969; in Germany, at the Kunsthalle of Düsseldorf in 1981–82; in Paris, at the Galerie de France where she exhibited regularly from 1958 to 1977 and at the musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris with a retrospective in 1977–78; in Antibes at the Picasso Museum in 1986, etc.

education

1929: André Lhote Academy, Paris

1928: School of Applied Arts, Vienna

​1927: Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo

solo shows

2022
- Anna-Eva Bergman - Revelation, Perrotin, New York, USA (upcoming)
Anna-Eva Bergman, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen, Norway

2020-2021
- Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

2019-2020
- Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, France

2018-2019
- Bombas Gens Centre d'Art, Valence, Spain

2019
- Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France

2018
- Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany

2017
- Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, France

2016
- Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France
- HL-Senteret for studier av Holocaust og livssynsminoriteter, Oslo, Norway

2015
- Museet for samtidskunst, Oslo, Norway

2014
- Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France

2011
- Musée de l'Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun, France

2010-2011
- Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway

2010
- Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
- Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen, Norway

​2009
- L'Observatoire de Haute Provence, Saint Michel l'Observatoire, France

2006
- Galeri Nord-Norge, Harstad, Norway
- Galleri Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway
- Galleri Åkern, Konsberg, Norway

2005
- Galerie Sapone, Nice, France

2003
- El Roser, Cuitadella, Minorca, Spain

2002
- Museet for samtidskunst, Oslo, Norway

2001
- Cabinet des estampes et des dessins, Liège, Belgium

2000
- Ensemble Conventuel des Jacobins, Toulouse, France

1998
- Geukens et De Vil Art Gallery, Knokke, Belgium

1997
- Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
- Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum, Tønsberg, Norway
- Listasafn Kópavogs Gerdarsafn, Kópavogur, Iceland
- Sparkasse, Kiel, Germany
- Galerie La Hune Brenner, Paris, France

1996
- Lillehammer Kunst museum, Lillehammer, Norway
- Trondhjems Kunstforening, Trondheim, Norway
- Galerie Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, Germany
- Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway

1995
- Musée Picasso, Antibes, France

1991-1992
- Noroit-Arras, Arras, France        
- Der Kunstverein, Zweibrücken, Germany

​1991
- Haugesunds Kunstforening, Haugesund, Norway
- Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway

1990
- Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
- Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- Trøndelag Kunstgalleri, Trondheim, Norway

1989
- Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo, Norway
- Norrköpings Konstmuseum, Norrköping, Sweden
- Herning Kunstmuseum, Herning, Danemark

1988
- Galerie Dube-Heynig, Munich, Germany
- Musée des Beaux-Arts, Carcassonne, France

1987
- Galerie Carinthia, Klagenfurt, Austria

1986
- Musée Picasso, Antibes, France
- Galleri Langegaarden, Fjøsanger, Norway
- Galerie Daniel Gervis, Paris, France
- Galleri Åkern, Kongsberg, Norway
- Norræna Húsid, Reykjavik, Iceland

1984
- Galerie MB Art Marlies Breitling, Stuttgart, Germany

1983
- Galerie Sapone, Nice, France
- Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, Germany

1981-1982
- Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst München-Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
- Hochschule für angewandtekunst in Wien, Vienne, Austria
- Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway

1981
- Røisheim Hotell, Bøverdalen, Norway
- Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany
- Lier Folkebibliotek Tranby Avdeling, Tranby, Norway

1980-1981
- Musée de la Poste, Paris, France

1980
- Erker, Saint Gallen, Switzerland
- Galleri Cassandra, Drøbak, Norway
- Stavanger Kunstforening, Stavanger, Norway
- Drammens Kunstforening, Drammen, Norway
- Ålesund Kunstforening, Ålesund, Norway
- Galleri - Stasjonen, Hop, Norway

1979
- Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
- Helsingfors Stads Konstsamlingar, Helsinski, Finland

1978
- Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, Germany

1977-1978
- Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France

1977
- Galerie de France, Paris, France
- Musée de l'Abbaye Sainte Croix, Les Sables d'Olonne, France

1976
- Hôtel de Ville, St Maximin-la-Ste Baume, France
- Galerie Sapone, Nice, France

1975
- Centro Annunciata, Milan, Italy
- Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany

1974
- Galerie Noella Gest, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

1973
- Galleria d'Arte Grafica Meeting, Mestre - Venice, Italy

1972
- Bergens Kunstforening, Bergen, Norway
- Larvik Kunstforening, Larvik, Norway

1971
- Kragerø Kunstforening, Kragerø, Norway

1969
- Biennale de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brésil (Anna-Eva Bergman represents Norway)

1968-1969
- Galerie de France, Paris, France

1968
- Stavanger Kunstforening, Stavanger, Norway
- Haugesunds Kunstforening, Haugesund, Norway
- Ålesund Kunstforening, Ålesund, Norway

1967
- Galerie Schmücking, Brunswick, Germany
- Galerie Aronowitch, Stockholm, Suweden
- Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin, Italy
- Lille Galleri, Oslo, Norway

1966-1967
- Musée Savremene Umetnosti, Belgrade, Serbia

1966
- Galerie Cahier d'Art, Paris, France
- Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Bergens Kunstforening, Bergen, Norway
- Galeria international Fornells de Arte Contemporanea Sa Taula, Fornells, Minorca, Spain
- Musée d’Art Contemporain, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

1964
- Galerie la Hune, Paris, France

1962
- Galerie de France, Paris, France
- Galerie Larsen, Marseille, France

1961
- Galerie Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway
- Galerie Tony Spinazzola, Aix-en-Provence, France

1960
- Wittenborn and Company, New York, USA
- Galleria Vigna Nuova, Florence, Italy
- Galerie La Hune, Paris, France

​1959
- Galerie Lucien Blanc, Aix-en-Provence, France

1958
- Galerie de France, Paris, France Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- Galerie Van De Loo, Munich, Germany

1955
- Galerie Ariel, Paris, France
- Galerie La Hune, Paris, France

1952
- Kunstantiquariat Wasmuth, Berlin, Germany

1950
- Unge Kunstneres Samfund (UKS), Oslo, Norway

1932
- Galerie Heinrich Kühl, Dresde, Germany
- Galerie Blomqvist, Oslo, Norway


 

group shows

2021
- Modernismens Pionerer. Utvalg fra Tangen-samlingen, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norvway
- Anna-Eva Bergman / Vera Pagava - L'Horizon de l'Abstraction, Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France
 
2019-2020
- Im Licht der Nacht - Vom Leben im Halbdunkel / In the Spotlight of the Night - Life in the Gloom, Marta Herford Museum für Kunst, Architektur, Design, Herford, Germany
- Femmes années 50; Au fil de l'abstraction, peinture et sculpture, Musée Soulages, Rodez, France
 
2019
- La Lune, du voyage réel aux voyages imaginaires, Grand Palais, Galeries nationales, Paris, France
- Sauvages nudités - Peindre le Grand Nord, Château de Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, France
- Deep Impact – Stefan Gierowski and European avant-gardes in the 60s, Fundacja Stefana Gierowskiego, Warsaw, Poland
 
2019-2018
- Lost, Loose, and Loved - Foreign artists in Paris 1944-1968, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
 
2018
- Biënnale van de Schilderkunst, Over landschappen, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium
- Peindre la nuit, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
 
2017
- Marie Buskov velger seg Anna-Eva Bergman, Oslo Kunsthandel, Oslo, Norway
 
2016-2017
- Histoire des formes, Centre d'art contemporain Les Tanneries, Amilly, France
 
2015
- La Spiritualita nell'arte, Eglise San Francesco, Cuneo, ItalY
- Sensations de nature, Musée Courbet, Ornans, France
- Nel mezzo del mezzo, Arte contemporanea nel mediterraneo, Museo Riso, Palermo, Italy
 
2014-2015
- 20 000 lieux ..., voyage dans les collections deSociété Générale et du LAAC, LAAC, Dunkerque, France
 
2013-2014
- Davant l'horitzó, Fondation Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
 
2013
- How High The Moon, Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France
- Fra Munch til Slettemark, Musée Munch, Oslo, Norway
- Venues d'ailleurs, Les femmes artistes étrangères de la Seconde École de Paris, Galerie Artemper, Paris, France
- Using a hammer and sea-staring is OK - abstraction and performance, OSL contemporary, Oslo, Norway
 
2012
- NORSK, une scène artistique norvégienne contemporaine, Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris, France
 
2011
- Det Menneskelige Mønster (The Human Pattern), Kunsthall Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- Regard sur l'abstraction lyrique / Montparnasse et Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Carcassonne, France
 
2010
- God natt da du... Surrealisme i norsk kunst 1930-2010, Stenersenmuseet, Oslo, Norway
- Le Funambule, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, United Kingdom
 
2009
- Jean Proal, Anna-Eva Bergman, Hans Hartung une amitié créatrice, Bibliothèque Municipale Joseph Roumanille, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
- Liefde! Kunst! Passie! Kunstenaarsechtparen, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands
- Jean Proal, Anna-Eva Bergman, Hans Hartung une amitié créatrice, Salles d'exposition de la Fondation Carzou, Manosque, France
 
2006
- L'envolée lyrique Paris 1945-1956, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, France
 
2000
- Olivier Debré, La Loire... Et ses amis, Château de Gien, Gien, France
 
1999
- Femmes-Graveurs du XXe siècle -Livres et estampes, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins, Liège, Belgium
- L'Atelier lacourière Frélaut: 70 ans de gravure et d'imprimerie, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins, Liège, Belgium
 
1998
- Fokus 50, Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo, Norway
 
1996-1997
- Graphik des 20. Jahrhunderts, Galerie Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, Germany
- Petits et grands papiers d’art contemporain, autour de la collection de Charles-Eric Siméoni, Musée Ziem, Martigues, France
- The Event Horizon, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
 
1996
- Norwegian Art, China National Gallery, Beijing, China
 
1994
- Vinterland - Norsk vintermaleri fra to sekler, Lillehammer Bys Malerisamling, Lillehammer, Norway
 
1993-1994
- Vinterland - Norsk vintermaleri fra to sekler, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, Germany
 
1993
- 25 ÅR 1968-1993, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
- Vinterland - Norsk vintermaleri fra to sekler, The Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, USA
- Vinterland - Norsk vintermaleri fra to sekler, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
 
1990
- Les graveurs des années 60, Galerie la Hune, Paris, France
 
1988
- Les Graveurs des années 50, Galerie la Hune, Paris, France
 
1987
- Le bois gravé en Chine et en Occident, Centre Culturel, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
- Hommage au président Georges Pompidou un homme de culture, Artcurial, Paris, France
- Fransk-Norsk Utstilling, Universitetet i Trondheim, Trondheim, Norway
- Première Triennale Internationale de la Gravure Contemporaine, Centre Marcel Noppeney, Differdange-Oberkorn, Luxembourg
- Statens 100. Kunstutstilling 1987, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
 
1986-1987
- Hommage à Iris Clert, Acropolis, Nice, France
 
1986
- Arcréa 86 - Exposition d'art contemporain, Château de la Napoule, Mandelieu-La Napoule, France
- Grafiske blad av Anna-Eva Bergman, Galleri Åkern, Kongsberg, Norway
- Gravure Norvégienne Contemporaine, Centre d’Art Moderne, Fondacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal
- Das stille bild, Galerie Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, Germany
 
1985
- Les poètes, le livre et les plasticiens, Maison Billaud, Fontenay-Le-Comte, France
- Les années 50, Musée d'art contemporain, Dunkerque, France
- Sesjon 85, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
 
1984
- La part des femmes dans l'art contemporain, Galerie municipale, Vitry-sur-Seine, France
- Autour de Michel Ragon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France
- 2e Rencontre des artistes contemporains, Palais Croisette, Cannes, France
- Autour de Michel Ragon, Paris Art Center, Paris, France
- 5e salon de la création artistique, Musée de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse, France
 
1982
- Museum und Galerie um Prediger, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
 
1981
- Galerie Du Castrum, Roussillon, France
- Epreuves d'artistes, Centre Culturel Municipal, Argenteuil, France
- La gravure dans tous ses états, Abbaye de Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, France
- Présence contemporaine, Cloître Saint-Louis, Aix-en-Provence, France
 
1980
- Galerie Lucette Herzog, Aix en Provence, France
- Reflex 1980, Århus Kunstforening, Århus, Danemark
- Dessins de la Fondation Maeght, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
- Centre culturel français, Rome, Italy
- Arte contemporânea da comunidade europeia, Museo de arte moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
- Images du Grand Nord, Château-Musée de Dieppe, Dieppe, France
- Présence Contemporaine, Cloître Saint-Louis, Aix-en-Provence, France
 
1979
- Salon de mai au Japon, Musée Municipal d'Art, Aomori, Japan
- L'atelier Lacourière-Frélaut ou 50 ans de gravure et d’imprimerie en taille-douce: 1929-1979, Musée d'Art Moderne de la -Ville de Paris, Paris, France
- Sixth British International Print Biennale, Lister Park Bradford, Cartwrigth Hall, Bradford, United Kingdom
- Vivante Tapisserie française, Grand Palais, Paris, France
- 13 biennale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljublajana, Yougoslavia
- Graveurs de la Galerie, Galerie de France, Paris, France
- Présence contemporaine, École des Beaux-Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France
- Présence Contemporaine, Centre de l'olivier, Istres, France
- L'art vivant à Paris, Mairie Annexe du XVIIIe Arrondissement, Paris, France
 
1978
- L'estampe Aujourd'hui 1973-1978, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
- Sieben Graphiker aus Norwegen, Oldenburger Kunstverein, Oldenburg, Germany
- 34e Salon de mai, La Galerie Paris - La Défense, Paris, France
- Premier Salon de l’Union des Arts Plastiques, Maison Pablo Neruda, Arles, France
- La tapisserie et l'espace, Abbaye des Cordeliers, Châteauroux, France
- Acquisitions récentes, Musée d'art Moderne, Dunkerque, France
- 4 Norske Internasjonale Grafikk Biennale, Fredrikstad Bibliotek, Fredrikstad, Norway
- Tapisserie contemporaine, Centre Cyrano de Bergerac, Sannois, France
 
1977
- Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China
- 26 franske kunstnere, Århus Kunstforening - Nordjllands Kunstmuseum - Esbjerg Kunstpavillon - Svenborg Amts Kunstforening - Galerie Pesch, Århus, Aalborg, Esbjerg, Svenborg (Danemark) and Cologne
- Certitude de l'incertain, Lyrisme et paysagisme abstraits en France de 1945 à 1975, Musée Cantini, Marseille, France
- 22e Salon de Montrouge - Art contemporain : Peintures, sculptures, dessins - et Dali, Montrouge, France
- Les Salons du Cercle suédois - Les artistes suédois en France, Association artistique suédoise, Paris, France
- 12e Biennale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Arte Fiera 77, Bologne, Italy
- IIème Biennale de la tapisserie française, Palais de Juan-Les-Pins, Antibes, France
- Les meubles tableaux, Galerie d'exposition Gouffé, Paris, France
 
1976
- 65 peintres et sculpteurs, Galerie Ariel et Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France
- Quand l'A.C.E.S. aide à rencontrer La Fontaine, Palais de l'Europe, Menton, France
- Gravures et sérigraphies d’artistes contemporains, Galerie Noella Gest, St Rémy de Provence, France
- Notre Provence - Vme Biennale, Grande Salle De La Mairie Annexe, Cannet-Rocheville, France
- 21e Salon de Montrouge - Art contemporain - Van Dongen, Montrouge, France
- Un village et l'art. Collection d'un amateur, Mairie de Roche, Roche, France
- Salon Comparaisons, Grand Palais, Paris, France
- 3 Norske Internasjonale Grafikk Biennale, Fredrikstad Bibliotek, Fredrikstad, Norway
- Itinéraire pour un amateur / L'atelier Lacourière et Frélaut : gravures anciennes et rares et nouvelles éditions, Galerie de France, Paris, France
- Collection F.C. Graindorge, Musée de l'art wallon, Liège, Belgium
 
1975-1976
- San Lazzaro et ses amis - Hommage au fondateur de XXe Siècle, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
 
1975
- Exposition itinérante dans le cadre de l’année de la femme organisée par l’UNESCO, Saint-Céré, France
- 31e Salon de mai, Salles New-York, Paris, France
- 11 exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Sommerubstilling, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- 1ère Biennale de la tapisserie française, Palais de l'Europe, Menton, France
- Exposition organisée avec le concours de la Galerie de France, Salles de la nouvelle mairie, La Baule, France
- Œuvres d'artistes femmes (Avec Marcelle Cahn, Peggy Goldstein, Renée Halern et Vera Pagava ..), Club Wizo, Paris, France
- Peintures et lithographies, Galerie Lucette Herzog, Orléans, France
 
1974
- XIII exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- Erker Treffen 2, Erker, St Gallen, Switzerland
- Donation Gildas Fardel, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France
- Exposition de tapisseries, avec le concours du Mobilier National, Château d’Annecy, Annecy, France
- Ve Biennale Internationale de la Gravure, Pavillon d'Exposition, Krakow, Poland
- Micro-salon 1974 - grandes femmes - petits formats, Iris Clert-Christofle, chez Christofle, 12 rue Royale, Paris, France
- 2 Norske Internasjonale Grafikk Biennale, Fredrikstad Bibliotek, Fredrikstad, Norway
- I bienal Internacional de Obra Grafica y Arte Seriado, La Fundacion Enrique IV de Castilla, Ségovia, Spain
- Tapisseries contemporaines, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Agen, France
- Enchantement de l'eau- IVme Biennale, Grande salle de la Mairie Annexe, Cannet-Rocheville, France
- Accrochage d’automne, Galerie Noella Gest, Saint-Rémy de Provence, France
 
1973
- XII exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- Les prêts du mobilier national, Palais de la Gravelle, Besançon, France
- Tapisserie française, Musée d'art ukrainien, Kiev, Ukraine
- Collection Armand Brugnaud, Galerie Armand Brugnaud, Nevers, France
- Aspects de l'Art Contemporain, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- Exposition d’ouverture, Galerie Gilles Corbeil, Montréal, Canada
- 10e Biennale internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Künstler der Galerie de France, Reiss-Museum, Manheim, Germany
- 6e Biennale Internationale de la tapisserie, Musée cantonal des Beaux-arts, Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, Switzerland
- Tapisseries contemporaines, Château de Culan, Culan, France
- Tapisseries modernes du mobilier national, Centre culturel des Prémontrés, Pont-à-Mousson, France
- La MALS à cinq ans, Maison des Arts et Loisirs, Sochaux, France
 
1972
- XI Exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- Paul Arma, Maison Le Corbusier, Firminy, France
- Salon Comparaisons, Grand Palais, Paris, France
- Bergman Haass et Theimer, Maison des Arts et Loisirs, Sochaux, France
- Christine Boumeester et ses amis, Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- I Norske Internasjonale Grafikk Biennale 1972, Fredrikstad Bibliotek, Fredrikstad, Norway
 
1971
- Nordisk Grafik, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden
- 25 ans de peinture en France 1945-1970, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Seoul, South Korea
- X exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- Premio Internazionale Bielle per l'Incisione, Museo Civico, Biella, Italy
- Salon des Réalités nouvelles, Parc floral, Paris, France
- Ten norwegian artists, Walker Art Gallery et City Art Gallery, Liverpool and Manchester, United Kingdom
- 9 exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
 
1970-1971
- Hommage à Christian et Yvonne Zervos, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France
 
1970
- IX Exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- IIe Expostion internationale de dessins originaux, Moderna Galerija Rijeka Yougoslavie, Rijeka, Croatia
- Ve Salon International de la femme, Casino municipal, Nice, France
- 10 Muvész Norvégiából, Mucsarnok Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
- Gravure - Sculpture – Peinture, la boulangerie, Poët Laval, France
- VIIIe Biennale de Peinture, Palais de L’Europe, Menton, France
 
1969
- VIII Exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- L'œil écoute, Palais des Papes, Avignon, France
- 8 exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- L’art graphique du XXe siècle, Palais de l'Europe, Menton, France
- Norske Grafikere 50 års jubileumsutstilling, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Un choix d'œuvres de la collection du Centre National d'Art Contemporain, CNAC, Paris, France
 
1968
- L'Art Vivant 1965-1968, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
- Wystawa Wspólczesnego Malarstwa Francuskiego, Krakow, Poland
- Peinture vivante, Maison de la culture, Nanterre, France
- VII Exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- 24e salon de mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France
- I exposition internationale de dessins originaux, Moderna Galerija, Rijeka, Yougoslavia
- Savremeno francusko slikarstvo, Muzej savremene umetnosti Beograd, Belgrade, Serbia
- Septième Biennale de peinture, Palais de l'Europe, Menton, France
- Galerie de la Tour, Troyes, France
 
1967
- Peintres & Sculpteurs Actuels, Le Centre culturel Monsouris, Paris, France
- Dans les salles rénovées de la Galerie, œuvres récentes, Galerie de France, Paris, France
- Galerie Municipale, Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg
- Dix ans d'art vivant 1955-1965, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
- Spiegel Gold, Wolffscher Bau, Nuremberg, Germany
- Galleri F15, Alby Moss, Norway
- Artistes de la Galerie de France, Galerie Harmonie, Grenoble, France
- Arp, Anna-Eva Bergman, Hartung, Magnelli, Musée municipal, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
- Centre International Protestant Montsouris, Paris, France
- XXIIIe salon de mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France
- VII exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Exposition internationale de gravures, The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
- Multiples, La fnac, Paris, France
- Premio Internazionale Biella per l'Incisione, Museo Civico, Biella, Italy
 
1965
- IV exposition UB, Universitetsbiblioteket I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
- VI Exposition Internationale de Gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- 6 Pariser Maler - Barbarigo, Bergman, Gischia, Hartung, Music, Pulga, Fränkische Galerie Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany
- 8 - Barbarigo, Bergman, Gischia, Hartung, Mitchell, Music, Pulga, Riopelle, Galleria Hausammann, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
- Maîtres de la peinture contemporaine, Théâtre Municipal, Le Mans, France
- Maîtres de la peinture contemporaine, Musée, Saint-Etienne, France
- Soucasne Proudy svetove Grafiky, Galerie Umeni, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
- Poda Reni dela, 1965-1966 Musée d'Art Contemporain, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
- Grafika Praga 66, 1966 Galerie Hollar, Prague, Czech Republic
- V exposition UB
- Die Edition Lacourière in der Galerie Heseler, Galerie Heseler, Munich, Germany
- Exposition Richard Wagner, Musée Galliera, Paris, France
 
1964
- Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria
- Hans Hartung, Anna-Eva Bergman, Terry Haass, Musée d'art moderne, Haifa, Israel
- L'aujourd'hui de demain, Palais Saint Vaast, Arras, France
- Old hundred, The Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, USA
- Atelier Lacourière, Maison Internationale de la cité Universitaire, Paris, France
- 47 ème Salon, Société des peintres graveurs français, Bibliothèque nationale, Galerie Mansart, Paris, France
- Lourdes 64, Galerie Creuze, Paris, France
- Dix ans des éditions Lacourière, Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- Lourdes 64, Musée Notre-Dame, Lourdes, France
- Los pintores de la Galerie de France, Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela
- Erker presse - Orig. Grafik, Ribelgalerie, Alstätten, Switzerland
 
1963
- Farbige Graphik aus Paris, Atelier Lacourière, Kunstsalon Otto Fischer, Biefeld, Germany
- Grafica moderna, Accademia del Ceppo, Pistoia, Italy
- L'œil de bœuf, Galerie 7, Paris, France
- V Exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Festival du Parvis "théâtre et Présence de l'art", Tarbes, France
- Artisti di Parigi, Galeria Hausammann, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
- Graphik 63, collection Albertina, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Naissance d'un art nouveau, Galerie Argos, Nantes, France
 
1962
- Norwegische graphik der gegenwart 1962, Bezirksamt Tiergarten von Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- La Galerie de France à Londres, Redfern Gallery, London, United Kingdom
- IVe salon de peinture, Lamalou-Les-Bains, France
- XIe Salon de l’Enclave, Château de Simiane, Valréas, France
- Preview 62/63, Lefebre Gallery, New York, USA
- Salon des Surindépendants, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
 
1961
- IV Exposition Internationale de Gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Studio Maywald, Paris, France
- Editions Lacourière 1951-1961, Galerie Gérard Cramer, Genève, Switzerland
- Summer Graphic Exhibition, Winttenborn and Company, New York, USA
 
1960
- La peinture française d'aujourd'hui, curated by Jacques Lassaigne, Musée de Tel-Aviv / Musée National "Bézalel" de Jérusalem / Musée d'Art Moderne de Haifa, Israel
- La gravure française, Italienne et suisse d'aujourd'hui nouvelles acquisitions automne 1960, Musée d'Art Moderne, Haïfa, Israel
- XVIe Salon de mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France
- The 1960 International Biennial of Prints, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, USA
- Gravures des éditions Lacourière, Galleria Vigna Nuova, Florence, Italy
- Galerie Herling Hagfelt, Copenhague, Danemark
- Gravures originales en taille douce des Editions Lacourière
 
1959
- XVe Salon de mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France
- III. exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
- Pameran kolèsksi karja Pelukis-Pelukis Perantjis, Wisma Nusantara, Djarkarta, Indonesia
- II.Documenta, Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
- Galerie Arlet, Monte-Carlo, Monaco
- Terningen, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Six peintres de l'école de Paris, Galerie Kaare Berntsen, Oslo, Norway
- Estampes d'artistes contemporains, Librairie Galerie La Proue, Nantes, France
 
1958
- École de Paris 1958, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France
 
1957
- International Woodcuts, Towner Art Gallery and Brighton Art Gallery, Eastbourne and Brighton, United Kingdom
- XIIIe Salon de Mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
- 50 ans de peinture abstraite, Galerie Creuze, Paris, France
- X premio Lissone internazionale la pittura, Lissone, Italy
- Peintre d'aujourd'hui France – Italie, Palazzo delle Arti Parco del Valentino, Turin, Italy
 
1956-1957
- Prints from Twenty Nations, The american Federation of arts, New York, USA
 
1956
- First International Exhibition of Prints, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, USA
- XIIe salon de mai, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
- Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
- Festival de l'art d’avant-garde, Cité Radieuse, Marseille, France
 
1955-1956
- Junge graphik aus Paris, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanovre, Germany
 
1955
- IX Premio Lissone, Lissone, Italy
- Franska Färggravyren, Galerie de Unga, Stockholm, Sweden
- XIe Salon de mai, Musée Municipal d'Art Moderne, Paris, France
- Divergence 3, Galerie Arnaud, Paris, France
- IIIème Biennale, Musée d'Art Moderne, Sao Paulo, Brasil
- I exposition internationale de gravure, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Yougoslavia
 
1954
- Peintures, sculptures et gravures norvégiennes, Ludvika, Orsa et Säter, Sweden
- Xe salon de mai, Musée Municipal d'Art Moderne, Paris, France
- Statens 67. kunstutstilling 1954, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Grafikk fra Lacourière, Paris, Galleri Cappelen, Oslo, Norway
- Gravures de Lacourière, Galerie Valloton, Lausanne, Switzerland
 
1953
- IXe salon de mai, Palais de New-York, Paris, France
- Les ateliers Lacourière et La Hune, Galerie La Hune, Paris, France
- Statens 66. kunstutstilling 1953, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
 
1952
- Salon de mai, Paris, France
- Usignerte bilder, Kunstforeningen, Oslo, Norway
- Statens 65. kunstutstilling 1952, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Juleutstilling, Larvik Kunstforening, Larvik, Norway
 
1951
- Grand Hotell, Hønefoss, Norway
- Tegneforbundets ustilling, Kunstnerforeningen, Oslo, Norway
- Farris Bad, Larvik, Norway
- Statens 64. årlige kunstutstilling 1951, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Norsk Nutidskunst, Malerier, Skulptur, Tegninger, Grafikk, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
- Juleutstilling, Larvik Kunstforening, Larvik, Norway
 
1950
- Ung norsk kunst, Stockholm, Sweden
- Statens 63. årlige kunstutstilling 1950, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
- Juleutstilling, Unge Kunstneres Samfund (UKS), Oslo, Norway
 
1948
- Utstilling i Kunst for varer, Unge Kunstneres Samfund (UKS), Oslo, Norway
- Statens 61. årlige kunstutstilling 1948, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Norway

public collections

Bergen Kunstforening, Bergen, Norway
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France
Bombas Gens, Valencia, Spain
Carré d’art - Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes, France
Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris, France
Finnmark Fylkeskommune, Norway
Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Haugesund Kunstforening, Haugesund, Norway
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
Kistefos Museum (Sveaas Christen collection), Kistefos, Norway
Kristiansand, Isreal
Kunsthalle Nuremberg, Germany
Kunstsilo Nordic art museum (Tangen Nicolai collection), Norway
Larvik Kunstforening, Larvik, Norway
Lieu d’art et action contemporaine de Dunkerque, Dunkerque, France
Listasafn Islands, Reykjavik, Iceland
Ministère des affaires étrangères, Oslo, Norway
Mobilier national, Paris, France
Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Paris, France
Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Caen, France
Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe originale, Gravelines, France
Musée National d’art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Musée Picasso, Antibes, France
Museo Civico, Turin, Italy
Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, Macedonia
Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway
Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway
Samdani Art Foundation Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sparebankstiftelsen, Oslo, Norway
Stortinget, Oslo, Norway
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Isreal
Universitetsbiblioteket i Oslo, Norway
Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Vienne, Austria
Utsmykkingsfondet for Nye Statsbygg, Oslo, Norway


 

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Anna-Eva Bergman: The Antibes period and the different phases of painting, from the Leipzig Museum's exhibition catalogue, 2018

by Romain Mathieu

The observation of the works created in Antibes by Anna-Eva Bergman between 1973 and 1987, can easily disconcert the art historian. In the works of the previous years, the surface of the paintings looked strange as if some kind of intensity originated from the diffuse rays of light produced by the metal leaf, but the eye could nevertheless recognize a concept of painting which could be related, maybe too easily, to the French abstraction of the 1950s. The paintings created by Anna-Eva Bergman in Antibes transcend standard categories. They cannot be grasped through the linear reading of art history with its succession of artistic trends. These works challenge what is familiar, they present us with an unknown pictorial territory and resist any classification.

When, in 1973, the artist, together with Hans Hartung, left the residence in rue Gauguet in Paris in order to live in Antibes, it was to settle in a studio, the design of which was tailored to her needs. In Paris, Bergman already had at her disposal a sizeable space which encouraged her to work on large formats, a fact that she herself observed. The studio in Antibes did not stand out in terms of floor space but it had functional qualities with its mezzanine re­served for drawings and a vast square space where she painted her canvases. A lot has been written about the layout of the two studios designed by the couple: one studio led into the other, with an empty space in the middle where they would come and look at each other's works on Sundays. We know that Anna-Eva Bergman's studio was smaller because she wanted it to be. But the contrast between the opening towards the sky in Hartung's studio, through which the branches of trees seemed to penetrate the room, and the more telluric opening in Bergman's studio with a view onto the field of olive trees, which sloped down from the house, has mostly gone unnoticed. For the couple, the move to Antibes meant relative solitude and a life entirely dedicated to the creative process. The succession of whole days spent in the studio, only punctuated by the preparation of their respective exhibitions, made up their daily life.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the paintings of Anna-Eva Bergman enjoyed great artistic recognition which had gradually been growing in importance over the course of the previous years. Her exhibition at the Galerie de France in 1968 had garnered critical acclaim. Georges Boudaille, notably, wrote very favourably about her work in Les Lettres françaises and Julien Clay wrote a long article about her prints in the XX° siècle review in 1970. Moreover, the 1960s were also a period of artistic recognition of her work in Norway through a retrospective exhibition set up in 1966 in Oslo and in Bergen. In 1969, Anna-Eva Bergman represented Norway at the Biennale in Sào Paulo. So, it was a double wave of recognition which had commenced and which continued throughout the 70s and 80s. While a series of group exhibitions were held in Europe, the Antibes period was characterized by several significant solo exhibitions in galleries (Noella Gest in Saint-Rémy in 1974, Galerie de France in 1977, Galerie Sapone in 1976 and 1983) but also and above all in the museums of France, Norway and Germany. The exhibition at the Musée d'Art moderne of Paris in 1977 seems to have been a watershed moment in the recognition of Anna-Eva Bergman's work. Yet, it is remarkable that the artist always presented recent paintings and did not consider her hangings so much as retrospectives but as an opportunity to display her work in progress.

However, the arrival in Antibes did not provoke a sharp change in Bergman's work. The major themes, among which the Horizons, which she was to develop later on, had appeared as early as 1960. It is neither a matter of light nor Mediterranean colour which would fit into the art history of the 20th century. The years in Antibes must rather be considered as a journey into the art of painting, a period dedicated to an in-depth exploration and a development of her work - the ridges of the house facing the sea, drawn by Hans Hartung, can incidentally evoke the clear-cut shapes of the small boats which Bergman created in the same years. Large black shapes spread across the canvas, an omen of death in Nordic mythology, but also a sign of an existential adventure. This journey translated into a progressive move towards a simplification of her work. An amazing purity of shapes and means went hand in hand with the choice of larger formats. The artist rid herself of any stylistic tie to a movement or a school.

Consequently, the critics found it awkward to grasp her work which swayed constantly in a tension between pure abstraction and a symbolic representation of the landscape, as Alain Jouffroy described it in 1977 when he perceived simultaneously "an area of colours, independent from the world, and a mirror, more or less symbolic of something else within painting." Likewise, Daniel Abadie said that if Bergman's art of painting "belonged to the Romantic tradition of Nordic painters via the asceticism of her design and the monumentality of her works, she tended in fact towards the opposite, the pure visual fact, the impersonal hallmark of minimal­ist creations." The reference to the history of Norwegian landscape painting and the Sublime is a means to express connections and to place Bergman's painting in between two traditions: abstract modernism and Romantic landscape painting of Northern Europe. The connection with Norwegian landscape painting does not relate her work to the history of abstract avant-garde but reveals some challenges, notably the dematerialization of shapes through light, the spiritual dimension of the experience of natural phenomena as peculiar as the northern lights. Nevertheless, these links on their own cannot account for the elusory tone of this work which precisely escapes any categorization and its current modernity probably lies in its deep singularity.

From the 1970s, Anna-Eva Bergman started to strip her work of non-essentials which translated first into the simplification of shapes with their neat outlines dividing the entire surface of the painting. The surface of N° 21-1973 Rochers rouges for example, is divided into two zones which seem to fit together and at the same time confront each other, not only by means of a colour contrast but also through the heaviness of the red colour which stands out sharply against the luminous metal leaf. The painting Pentes of 1975 displays the same type of divided surface, even more simplified, which creates two intense antagonistic masses. The fragmentation is not found solely inside the shapes, as in the Finnmark series of the 1960s, but it extends beyond the painting and is found in the majority of her works. Let us think of the Horizons, of course, but also of Montagnes in 1981 and even the Barques motif which splits the surface into several fragments. This transformation involves the creation of an open space in which the shape is no longer included within a background and within a painting, but exceeds the limits to continue beyond the canvas like the lines in Horizons which spread across the surface from one edge to the other. This shift from centring the composition to exceeding the confines of the painting is manifest in one of her first works from 1973, Frame with a more narrative effect but at the same time, tends to free itself from it. While Bergman's painting is not the product of a discontinuous process but rather stems from a slow maturation, it is possible, with this in mind, to consider the Pierres de Castille series, a work on paper from 1970, as a watershed moment of this shift from a closed space to an open space which will then be fully asserted. Moreover, it is significant that this change would be translated into drawings which constituted a major area of ex­ploration for the artist, as working on paper allowed for a rapidity which her pictorial practice did not permit. If one compares these black shapes with those in the works from 1952s, which were also on paper, one could immediately perceive the out-of-centre. composition but also a larger space of which the sheet of paper is only a fragment and where black masses meet. The open space which is progressively put in place in Bergman's painting from the 1960s and which is clearly noticeable in the Antibes period, echoes American abstract expressionism. It must be comprehended as a rejection of the composition within a painting which was a feature of French abstract painting in the post-war period. It is worth painting out that Anna-Eva Bergman had a good knowledge of American painting which she had discovered during her first stay in New York with Hans Hartung in 1964, which would be followed by a second stay in 1966. She particularly emphasized her interest in the works of Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt. When one is confronted with the Horizons, Barnett Newman's paintings corne to mind immediately as if the human verticality of the zip had tipped over to meet the horizontality of the landscape. But beyond formal similarities and differences, the issue is a transformed relationship with the painting which Georges Boudaille had inci­dentally grasped in his article concerning the exhibition at Galerie de France in 1968, when he wrote that Anna-Eva Bergman's large formats were becoming "environments." This transformation of the pictorial space engages a new relationship with the painting which is no longer a closed and autonomous surface in which shapes become, as it were, signs within the frame, but a space which gives itself physically and immediately to the onlooker and tends to absorb him or her: what Meyer Shapiro, when speaking about American painting, summarized as a shift from communi­cation to a communion with the painting.

Bergman's work must be observed in the light of the history of modernity which broke away from easel painting. For that matter, it was associated with the American artists' works during the exhibition at Fondation Maeght in 1968 which introduced the second generation of American artists linked with Minimalism. Nonetheless, in addition to a space deprived of partitions, Anna-Eva Bergman's work displays a real depth in the pictorial texture itself which, one should note, is specific to her work and is in opposition to Barnett Newman's work or Rothko's thin coat of paint. The ethereal radiance of the metal leaf contrasts with the thickness of the surface, of its different layers. This thickness is the paint itself in the first place with the use of the modelling paste associated with acrylic from the 1960s. The relief of colour is scraped, thus producing folds, lines and shapes which catch the light of the metal leaf on the painting. From within these crushed fiat surfaces, the emerging thickness results from superimposed layers, the various levels of which do not cover each other entirely. In N° 15-1976 Nunatak I, the black shape and the strip of oxydized copper are literally squeezed between a reserved white area where the weft of the canvas shows and a strip of white paint incomplete­ly covering the metal leaf. Similarly in N° 31-1975 Horizon noir, the thin white strip at the base of the painting echoes the white in the upperpart while remaining distinct from it by means of the heaviness of the black colour which it covers. This intricate relationship between above and below results in a dialectic of proximity and distance as if these two ways of perceiving the world were complementary: one corresponds to the immediacy of the sense of touch while the other is essentially visual and more immaterial. This double perception of the world has something in common with the Romantic landscape. In addition to the characters in Caspar David Friedrich 's painting The Chalk Cliffs of Rügen,

their contemplative attitudes refer, in the Romantic approach, to a correspondance between all ele­ments, and between the emotions of the soul and nature. If Anna-Eva Bergman's paintings rule out the sensation of perspective, they bring into play a modified perception of distance through painting. For example, in the Montagnes or Horizons multipleseries, the brightness of metal seems to head for the black colour, as if suspended above the materiality of the painting, a relation which one is immediately tempted to interpret as the spirit revealing itself in matter. Historical filiations come to mind, be it Nordic painting or the medieval use of gold leaf in religious art works, but they should not mask the complex interweaving of spirituality and matter. In 1948, Bergman wrote: "The spirit is indeed a reality as it can manifest itself in matter. The absurd anthroposophical popular idea according to which the world of spirit is made up of curious spheres within reach of a few people only, must be refuted. But the materialistic idea which considers the spirit as nonsense, superstition, metaphysical subsconcious, nothingness, must also be rejected. It is absolutely necessary to bridge the divide between these two conceptions." Bergman's paintings are not the products of any ontological dualism (the strict separation between the ideas and the world) but they summon what is ineffable and sensible by means of a tension between the material weight of colour and luminosity, the mingling of layers and materials. The world perceived as a unity, the fusion within the work and beyond, between the visible and the invisible, could associate Bergman 's work to a Romantic posterity.

The very depth of the thickness in Bergman 's paintings appears fully at the junction of shapes, in their outlines, and in some of her paintings, the undercoats are visible. The line becomes the expres­sion of a depth rising up to the surface and upsetting the layout of the large fiat areas of colour. The surface appears as a transitory state or, at least, as the result of a gradual development of the work. In this way, the painting is no longer defined as a space only but as a duration within that space, the time of an experience - a reference to the distinction Bergson made between time and duration - translating into materiality, into the peculiar density of Bergman's works, like a sedimentation. Let us note that Anna-Eva Bergman worked on a horizontal canvas - the photographs taken in the studio show that she worked simultaneously on several paintings, raised on trestles. This means that the painting is no longer a surface on which the artist projects something but rather a surface on which to lay something down, and it is literally true as far as the metal leaf is concerned. Yet, it is precisely the trace of the image in the memory which is laid down in the materiality of the painting and transforms itself with it.

The experience of duration within the painting must in fact be related to a longer time scale in which memory becomes an es­sential dimension of the work. While the paintings created in Antibes refer, for the most part, to the landscapes of Norway and more specifically to Cape North where the artist went in 1964, it is interesting to note that she painted some landscapes of the South of France when she stayed in Norway during the war as if distance-which engages memory- was absolutely necessary to her. Duration is also part of the lengthy development of the motifs, their resurgence, their gradual metamorphosis. The mountains can be associated with earlier works with the same theme. It is also the case with the first Horizon, created in 1962, but the artist will make the most of this theme throughout the 1970s. For that matter, the artist periodically developed a range of shapes among which are found the various motifs which she used. Bergman's ex­hibitions are testament to the recurring motifs, the constant work on series, and their gradual metamorphosis. In Galerie Sapone, the small format artworks from the Barques series are placed next to each other while a photograph which Bergman took in a 1979 exhibition in Norway, clearly establishes a link between a Montagne, dating from the 1960s, which displays a real pictorial materiality, and a Montagne, created in 1978, reduced to a black line across a white surface. This bears witness to a passage between the two paintings but also a transformation and a movement to­wards the simplicity of the shape. Anna-Eva Bergman's motifs are intimately related to the dimension of memory. The term "motif' is not to be understood as something spreading under the gaze of the painter before being placed on the canvas but rather in its original meaning of "set into motion'', literally what generates the desire to paint our experience of the world. This movement is the memory understood as a transformation process, associated with the emergence of the shape in pictorial materiality.

Therefore, Bergman's painting cannot be defined as an abstraction whose language would be made of autonomous, geometrical or biomorphic signs but more as a pictorial equivalent of an experience of the landscape and, beyond, of the world understood as the junction between the visible and the principle which animates it. Paradoxically, this approach is manifest in the works displaying a repetitive motif.

If the repetitive feature echoes the praxis of the artists in the 1960s, it cannot be reduced to a shape drained of its substance but rather stems from a sensible experience. In this way, the early shapes of the repetitive drawings of a spiral are to be directly related to the Dome of the Alhambra which the artist photographed in 1962. The lines repeated throughout the height of the sheet of paper refer to the sea by means of their title. Finally, Pluies, these very singular artworks, display repeated dots made of metal leaf, similar to finger prints. Dots and lines do not appear as pure shapes but as primary shapes permeated by a specific perception of the world. A painting is a sensitive surface on which these primary shapes are laid down and resemble the natural traces of the rain on the ground. What makes Anna-Eva Bergman 's works contemporary "after the fact", in other words, after the modernist categorizations, appears clearly in the repetitive works. These remind me of some contemporary artists' work in which the sign does not convey purity but settles, beyond abstract and figurative art,in an experience of the senses which determines its own necessity. There is no doubt that the rediscovery of the works created by Anna-Eva Bergman in Anti­bes will inspire new filiations within modernity and will avoid categories which have today proven to be far too restrictive.


Anna-Eva Bergman in Spain, Comings and Goings, from Reina Sofia Museum's exhibition catalogue, 2018

by Romain Mathieu

To speak of Eva Bergman’s trips to Spain implies taking an interest in her holidays, looking seriously into that different time, the time outside the studio, which is nonetheless at the heart of the artist’s approach and proves to be essential to understand her oeuvre. If Anna-Eva Bergman considered for a moment moving to Spain with Hans Hartung to build an atelier and re-connect with the setting of their first years as a couple in Menorca, she was foremost attracted to a place. “Carboneras, still wild and unchanged, only inhabited by peasants, fishermen and bohemians, as Hans and I liked it”.1 It was distance, then, that characterized this place, and that was what Anna-Eva Bergman was looking for, a distance in regards to the contemporary world and to life in Paris, where the artist had her studio. Her first trip, in 1962, coincided with the appearance of the Horizons, a motif which effected a transformation in the artist’s work and would become recurrent until the end of her life. She returned there in the company of Hans Hartung almost every year, in 1963, 1964, 1966, 1970 and 1971. In 1970, Bergman reviewed her entire vocabulary of shapes with India ink on large pieces of white paper. This repertory was completed with the series Pierres de Castille [Stones of Castile] made with the same technique. This unusual series associated with that inventory indicates a passage, a moment of evolution that would materialize afterwards in the work she did in the atelier in Antibes.

A decade went by between the first and last trip that Anna-Eva Bergman made to Spain. During this time the work of the artist experienced a transformation.

This period was also marked by numerous trips and journeys by the couple Bergman-Hartung. The most important was certainly the one they took to Norway in 1964, during which the artists voyaged along the coast until they reached North Cape. Bergman took a great number of photos. She said she didn’t sleep in order to take fullest advantage of the special light of the midnight sun, of the landscapes which presented themselves to her and went on to nourish her painting. The artist also visited the United States that same year, and then again in 1966. She therefore became very familiar with American painting and emphasized her interest in the work of Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt. In addition to these trips, they made a number of visits to the south of France up until they moved to Antibes in 1973. But this decade also corresponds, almost exactly, with the artist’s acquisition of her first large studio which she moved into in 1959. In that space she could work with large formats and on different paintings at the same time, accommodating to the drying times required by her metal foil technique. It was also during the course of these years that Anna-Eva Bergman’s work benefited from the sound recognition she gained with her first solo show in the Galerie de France in 1962, and then a travelling show in institutional venues in Norway in 1966. She also participated in group shows around the world. In France, her work was fully integrated into the events of the abstract painting scene with, for example, her participation in the Salon de mai in 1968 and in L’art vivant the same year, which included French and American artists. During that very concentrated period, punctuated by trips to Spain, there were many comings and goings, not just between Spain and Paris, but also between the studio and the outdoors, which in Art History is traditionally called “the motif”. The entire approach of Anna-Eva Bergman gives that term a specific meaning.

During the 1950s, Anna-Eva Bergman progressively abandoned an agency of symbol-related forms inside of the canvas, as was the practice in post-war French painting, for a construction that tended to exceed the surface. The use of larger formats, after moving into the studio on rue Gauguet, reinforced this move, leading to a physical rapport with painting, to an immediacy of the form. This also led her to an enhanced relationship with the landscape that she expressed through titles referencing Norway after the trip in 1964: Montagne, Glacier, Finnmark, Fjord [Mountain, Glacier, Finnmark, Fjord]. Two unusual pictures from that period, Néant d’or [Golden Void] and Néant d’argent [Silver Void] from 1963, radicalised that immediacy of the surface to the point of the disappearance of form and the emergence of the monochrome. The absence of the motif, underlined in the title itself, leaves only the light from the metal foil. The painting becomes somehow dematerialized by the radiance of the foil that spreads above the surface. It shows a desire to expand the painting beyond its limits through a kind of fusion of the body with that luminous space. These pictures point to an extreme benchmark in the artist’s approach in relation to other work where the lighting particularises itself in a relationship of shapes, retaken, reworked as a kind of archetypal vocabulary.

The horizons would become a central motif in the work of Anna- Eva Bergman, and they fully brought about the opening of the pictorial space. The division of the surface crosses the canvas and could be compared to Barnett Newman’s zip paintings, though shifted into horizontality, and therefore linked to land- scape. It is remarkable, however, that this motif did not originate from Norwegian landscapes, but from the great arid expanses which the artist could see during her first stay in Spain. Although the first horizons were made in 1962, the earthy colours with brown and ochre hues attest to that link. Nonetheless, a similar structure is found in the Finnmark pieces made in 1965, which were inspired by the icy surfaces Bergman was able to see during her expedition to the North Cape. These paintings erect in front of us an immensity which is both the feeling of an unattainable distance and a surface devoid of depth, resulting in a wall that the eye butts up against. Speaking on the subject of Caspar David Friedrich’s Der Mönch am Meer [Monk by the Sea], Kleist remarked, “while contemplating it, we have the feeling that our eyelids are cut off”, to describe the absence of a plane and a frame, which has the effect of putting the painting at a distance. Beyond the formal approach, Bergman’s relationship to landscape could be catalogued as a continuation of Romantic painting. The motifs of the horizon and Finnmark, give rise to an experience of limitlessness regarding the perception of the landscape and regarding the painting, which seems to only be a fragment of space. The artist herself explained that “behind the horizontal limit lies, I think, a realm which, though physically and bodily unattainable, is, however, real and of an experimental nature”.

It is not a question of portraying—and, in that sense, the work of Anna-Eva Bergman is quite abstract—but of delivering an experience comparable to that which is offered by nature, the experience of the infinite that escapes the traveller, as the frontality of these surfaces prevents any kind of projections of the body to their interior. The artist substitutes an indefinite confusion of depth with a plane that removes all spatial markers. In some of her works, the use of torn sheets of metal produces a sort of weaving on the surface which is contrary to any division by planes. The motifs of walls and cliffs are not the opposite of horizons, but rather their inverted double by the direct confrontation with this material and mute frontality, resistant by its very otherness. Bergman’s painting produces a passage from the depths to the surface, from the unattainable to the immediate though elusive presence of the paint. The near and the distant are confused through a process of sedimentation in the thickness of the surface. With the canvas placed horizontally, Anna-Eva Bergman worked by depositing successive layers. The metal foils cover prior layers of paint and, sometimes, they are covered in turn by liquid pigments or varnishes which change their appearance. They come after that thick material, the modelling paste, a mix of acrylics   whose reliefs or incisions produce at first an imperceptible design which is later revealed by the luminous reflections of the metal. But these strata intermingle as well, the bottom comes to the top, climbing back to the junction of the shapes, between the sheets of metal, altering the perception of colour depending on the light and the movement in front of the picture. Here again, it is the physical and material experience of the painting that conveys the experience of the “unattainable”, the presence of an infinite within the finite.

This process of sedimentation must also be perceived within its temporal dimension. The near and the distant are not only spatial notions; they also refer to a duration which is deposited in the materiality of the painting. The time of painting echoes a longer time, that of the comings and goings between the studio and the times of travel, the numerous movements punctuating the 1960s. The accumulation of photographs Bergman brought back from her trips, notably from Spain and Norway, are a recollection, a trace where the vivacity of memory is expressed together with the feeling of distance, and even loss. The photos could therefore be a medium for memory, a document from which motifs could be extracted by the artist, but also a capture of the forms painted previously, thus reactivating the experience of the landscape. The feeling of loss is connected with the destinations of the artist and, therefore, with her relationship to the landscapes, since the Norway she left so young is related to her childhood memories, whereas when she went to Spain, at first she was looking to retrieve the landscape of those first years with Hans Hartung as a couple in Menorca. Thus, Bergman’s painting evokes a lamination of time where the time of the work also comes into play through the memory of a motif, retaken and transformed over the years. It doesn’t come from a direct relationship, but from the distance between the painting and the perceived landscape. That distance brought together the landscapes of Norway and Spain, but those of southern France as well. It is also conveyed by the use of the golden number to organize the composition. The numerous drawings and repetitions of shapes that Bergman did on paper in 1958 and in 1970 also attest to this autonomy of painting in relation to landscape. Painting became abstract through memory and through the pictorial process, seeking a first experience, not necessarily in a chronological sense, but as an expression of unity between the visible and the invisible, the feeling of limitlessness within the limits of nature.

In her travels, Bergman looked for distance, for a preserved, even archaic world. The voyage to North Cape came from that aspiration but so did her stays in Spain: she was motivated to go to Carboneras by the desire to find “a place still wild and unchanged”.  During her journey through Spain in 1970, she travelled in the region of Las Hurdes, intrigued by this place which was described as extremely isolated. There was also the desire to experience a virgin world where she could find a powerful ex- pression of the principle of the transformation of nature, the energy running through it, an immateriality layered on the materiality of the canvas. That experience could then free itself her from any ties to a landscape, in order to focus on the building blocks of the world: water, air and fire. We understand that the “motifs” of the elements—and by extension Anna-Eva Berg- man’s collection of shapes—are not “images” but “that which sets the world in motion”, what animates it and, by analogy, what animates the paintings: the luminous vibration of fire, the sparkle of water and the evanescence of Air. Furthermore, we find the elements in the paper series L’or de vivre [The Richness of Living] as well as in La vie  [Life], that accumulation of spiral shapes that develop concentrically and can be directly associated with the dome of the Alhambra photographed by the artist in 1962. But this swirling movement is also the movement of drawing—the line coming back on itself to develop a potentially limitless process—and the movement which is at work in nature, a principle of creation from the Renaissance called natura naturans. This search for unity in the generation of the graphic and the natural form is also present in the engravings where Anna-Eva Bergman uses the grain of the wood as a motif, producing a design which, made by a passing movement of col- our, is also found in her India inks from 1969.

Anna-Eva Bergman’s painting is inseparable from that experience of the world and from the enigma of its existence, both a wall erected in front of us and a horizon line that flees in the distance. That enigma materializes both in the farthest and in the nearest in the series of Astres [Stars] as well as in Pierres de Castille, whose burst of dark masses extracts itself from the limits of the medium and exceeds the gaze. For the artist, Spain was an essential place for that experience and she associated it, as a counterpoint, with Norway. It is part of this movement of comings and goings between the studio and the world, where one is not confused with the other; all the contrary, it reveals a distance which is at the source of Anna-Eva Bergman’s painting.


We Are Stone, from Reina Sofia Museum's exhibition catalogue, 2018

by Teresa Lanceta

Women do not enter into the world of art to say things that have already been said, or to say them in the same way. What has been built through the centuries using an artistic language which has not included them is not acceptable. They want to say things, and say them in a different way. Anna-Eva Bergman defended her place and revealed what it was that she wanted to say and how she would say it by pursuing a way of doing, a process, by using techniques and materials that other artists of her time were not using; not even the ones who, like her, were seeking radical abstraction. Women want to say other things because they have lived other things. They receive and transmit knowledge in different ways, like, among others, Anni Albers, Bridget Riley, Eva Hesse, Ana Mendieta, and Tacita Dean. In the case of Bergman, her work is not an act of rebellion, but of exchange, an inclusive act that completes the existing artistic language and stretches its limits. Being there, participating, being.

The stone keeps its arcane secret hidden, or is simply unaware of it, like she was when she looked at it. We don’t know the questions, we only know that she didn’t avoid them.

Those who have never been face to face with Bergman’s paintings, and have only seen them in the pages of a book, cannot appreciate the transcendence of her work. The fixed image distorts her work because, in spite of her ability to synthesize forms, Bergman is not a formalist. Her goal and her achievements go beyond her refined abstraction.

Bergman distilled forms, but also hatched her own practice, with artisanal reminiscences and links to Byzantine art and icons. Her medium: sheets of metal, gold, silver and other alloys. But also, her entire being, her fingers, her nails, her strength, her intelligence, and her emotions recall precious metals and their arcane timelessness. Beforehand, a painter from Vienna had used gold leaf on a kind of secular icons in which the metal, without mixing with the paint, framed the figures. However, in Bergman’s work it doesn’t act as a frame, but Bergman became commanding, demolishing the limitations of a medieval decorative tradition. She created a way of doing that belonged to her. She transformed the fine layers of metal with colour sediments, glazes, and transparencies, but above all, she created light that was changing, imprecise, atmospheric, and full of nuances that altered the colours, the shapes and our experience. She developed a medium which is expression in itself and the vehicle of what she wants to tell us. Nothing that can be seen in the pages of a book.

The perforated mountains, deprived of one of their faces, returned her gaze. Things were repeated and answers came to her in the form of ice. Because not everything is on the surface of the cloth, Anna-Eva Bergman looked again and again at the rocky walls of the fjords, the sky that cut through them, the cliffs and the sea renewing their movement and re-constructing the horizon; she was surprised at the emptiness and plenitude they conveyed: cosmic emptiness and human plenitude.

A viewer who stands before her paintings, who sees them directly, participates in the atmospheres, in the chromatic and in the light transformations that take place in the metal reflections. Anna-Eva Bergman knew that the medium speaks, and she let it do. Rather than mastery, it is a question of understanding. She generates a process that cannot be interrupted and that revives that Nordic atmosphere made of layers of light, where the contours of things are constantly subjected to evanescent ethers of borrowed luminosity, like the luminescent moon that shines by the reverberation of an external light. Any change, be it position, light or shadow, shows a new possibility from the infinite ones that are captured on the surfaces of these silvery or golden pictures, in a way that makes it seem that the metal is breaking down into particles.

Metal, oil and, again, the sea. Unshared beauty eroding the deepest part of her being, she is going to communicate what she has perceived, what she has seen outside and inside of herself. We don’t remember Bergman’s pain, her desperation, or fear; her paintings appear before us in a continuum, in affirmation, in conciliation.

Bergman again was commanding in the choice, resolution and expression of her subjects, in which she conveyed the strong determination that occupied her and marked the last and fullest period of her work. The subjects refer to nature, stones, fjords, cliffs, horizons or archetypes developed since the beginning of humanity— boats or steles. All of these paradigmatic motifs are so refined that they become reflections of elementary geometric figures, tri- angles, straight lines and circles. They are not so much symbols, but primary signs so recognizable that they escape us. Skeletons or armour. The size of the format isn’t important—the mountain, the cliff or the moon completely fill the surface of the canvas, while the landscape is excluded, and very little room is left for the background. The motif bursts in categorical forms repeated again and again, shining in the versatile surface created by metal.

Bergman did not draw the place where things happened, but the thing itself. Far from the geometric dryness of the art of her contemporaries, for this artist, shape and colour come from the power of nature—the way in which the arcane manifests itself. For this reason, she felt committed to the how and the what. Being the motif that is painted and the person who paints it. The rea- son to paint is nothing more than she herself—her patrimony.

From the sea, the land doesn’t stop tossing. But it isn’t the land, rather the sailors’ gaze which shakes, conquered by the rolling waters, while the sea from land is a fixed horizon, so powerful that for centuries it was confused with the edge of the world. Whichever way they looked, they were unable to unravel the mystery.

There isn’t a red or blue more beautiful than in her paintings, nor a silver that shines more. No lines deeper than her horizons, nor circles subtler than her stars. When she left, the adult Anna-Eva was no longer that young girl who was searching, she was the woman that said out loud that art is a never-ending return. We are not dust, we are stone, we are cliffs, we are Finnmark, we are horizon.

Therefore, between palpable reality and intangible knowledge, she listened, saw and painted. Neither she herself nor anything around her soothed the silence that is produced by eternity’s moans. It is her legacy, what she received and what she has given us. It is human plenitude.

From the South, which Anna-Eva Bergman so loved, thank you.

"REVELATION" AT PERROTIN NEW YORK

"REVELATION" AT PERROTIN NEW YORK

Anna-Eva BERGMAN

"LES ARCHIVES DE LA CREATION" AT THE HARTUNG-BERGMAN FOUNDATION

"LES ARCHIVES DE LA CREATION" AT THE...

Anna-Eva BERGMAN