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Siri Berg: A life in color

Siri Berg, 98, died April 8, 2020 in her home, in New York City. Born in 1921, in Stockholm, Sweden, Ms. Berg was an accomplished painter and artist of mixed-media who enjoyed a late-career renaissance in her final two decades. In recent years, her work was the subject of several career retrospectives, spanning over 50 years of work, including “In Color” (2016-17) at the Fiterman Art Center, New York; “A Life in Color” (2018) at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; and “Statements” (2019) at House of Sweden, Washington, D.C. Ms. Berg was also the subject of the documentary film In Color by Sara Jegerman, released in 2019. Berg’s media of choice were paint and canvas, combined with an almost scientific approach to color, light, and texture. Her interest ranged from geometric abstraction and color-fields to black-and- white paintings, inspired and mastered by her vast command of color. 

Siri Berg, Shifting Revisited, 1979, rubber, acrylic on Masonite, 10 x 24 inches
Siri Berg, Modular Triptych I, 1986, acrylic and oil on canvas
Siri Berg, It’s All About Color II, 2010, oil on canvas (18 panels), 10 x 5 inches

Berg studied at the Institute of Art and Architecture at the University of Brussels before immigrating to the U.S. at the age of 19, by freighter, in 1940. She raised her family in Riverdale, NY, spent summers in Atlantic Beach, Long Island, and began painting in earnest in her oldest son’s bedroom-turned-studio, the day he went off to college. Berg later moved to an artist loft in SoHo, in the mid-1980s, where she lived, worked and taught for the rest of her life.

Her work was exhibited in Australia, China, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Germany, and across the U.S and is included in the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden. Berg was a longtime member of the American Abstract Artists and taught Color Theory at Parsons School of Design, The New School, for over 30 years. She retired as the oldest member of their faculty at the age of 91. Siri is survived by two sons, Jeffrey and Arthur, two step-daughters, Harriet and Stephanie, nine grandchildren and numerous great-grand-children.

Submitted by Julia. K. Gleich

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