Known as one of the pioneers of the German Pop Art movement, Werner Berges (b. 1941, Cloppenburg, Germany; d. 2017, Freiburg, Germany) achieved widespread recognition by the 1970s with his iconic imagery of cheerful, smiling women posing in groups or alone. Borrowing from the visual language of advertising, Berges took the archetype of the female to the brink of alientation, using visual techniques and references that evoked the notion of mass advertising and reproduction. His works emphasize multiplication and seriality, as they are often layered with painted, cutout, and laminated circles, grids, stripes of color, and lines, in ways that Belinda Grace Gardner described as "playful pictorial abbreviations." In a time when Germany was going through its postwar recovery, Berges' works contributed to the aesthetic rupture that was taking place during the time, and reacted against earlier movements such as the German Informel.
Berges had studied advertising art at the Academy of Arts (Bremen) before completing his studies of painting at the University of Arts Berlin in 1968; by the mid-1960s, Pop Art had gained traction as a movement in Germany. In 1966, whilst he was still a student in Berlin, Berges attained his first solo exhibition at the well-established independent artist's space Großgörschen 35. The space had been established by artists such as Ulrich Baehr, Hans-Jürgen Diehl, Karl-Horst Hödicke, and Markus Lüpertz, and Berges spent the next two years developing the iconography that he would become famous for. Berges' works have been included in over 200 solo and group exhibitions in various venues in Europe and around the world. Notable solo exhibitions include the Goethe-Institut in Lyon (1977), Marseille (1978), and Avignon (1978); Kunsthaus Hanover (2001); Morat-Institut, Freiburg (2014); Kunstverein Kirchzarten (2018), amongst others. Group shows include PRAXIS 81, Palacio de la Vireina, Barcelona, Spain (1981); Torso, Kunstverein Kassel, Germany (1982); German Pop, Schim Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2014); Deutscher Pop, Galerie Diede, Germany (2016), amongst others. He passed away in Freiburg, Germany in 2017.