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I reaffirm a belief that art has the power to

be a transformative force for good.

The animating sources for Peace Accord: the

Triumph of Music are two-fold. The first is a

visionary series of concerts, “In War & Peace”,

launched two years ago by the American

mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.

Helen Berggruen

“I was born in San Francisco in 1945. My artistic

life began, not as a painter, but as an

actress. From the age of twelve, I was

determined to be on stage. In the early 80’s I

stepped away from theater life and started

painting. The canvases would be “peopled”

not with figures, but with objects, trees,

houses. Early on I was highly influenced by Van

Gogh and by the early 20th Century European

painters, especially the French Fauves and

German Expressionists. Their emphasis on the

“liberation of color” became guiding

principles. My work has been exhibited in San

Francisco, New York, London and Berlin and is

in the collections of the Springfield Art

Museuam, Missouri, and the Cedar Rapids

Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

“As artists, as members of society, we find

ourselves faced with the challenge: how to

resist being dragged down into the negative,

fearful despair that surrounds us. In response,

Through the sublime music of Handel, Purcell,

and other Baroque masters, the concerts

explore the darkest conditions of the human

soul, as well as the most exalted. We hear

searing melodies set to words crying out for

revenge, but also, melodies conveying a sense

of hope. The scourge of war is interwoven

with a craving for peace. The second source is

the painting St.Cecilia and the Angel, by the

Seventeenth Century Italian artist Saraceni. In

my narrative composition, St. Cecilia and her

lute have been replaced by a determined

young singer. The angel beckons to the singer;

she has already embarked on a fierce mission.

In one hand she holds a sheet of music; in the

other, she carries a blazing torch. The winged

angel joins the singer, offering to accompany

her on his bass viol. Together their song

vanquishes dark forces. Hostilities cease.

Swords lie broken at their feet.”

Helen Berggruen | March 2018

Peace Accord: The Triumph of Music

Oil on linen

71 x 56 cm | 2018


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