he paintings on display date from 1913 to 1955, the year of the artist’s death, and offer a complete overview of Baumeister’s artistic production. The drawings – as numerous as the paintings even though many were destroyed by the artist himself – should be considered as works in their own right, and only in rare cases as preparatory instruments.
Willi Baumeister’s artistic development towards a total abandonment of figuration is largely representative of the evolution of abstract painting in Germany and Europe.
From his very first works, for the most part wall-paintings and non-figurative collages on the subject of man and machine, what emerges is a desire for abstraction and the striving for autonomy of form and colour that would accompany all his artistic work.
Baumeister developed a wholly personal exploration of form, colour and surface to the detriment of the Naturalism and Expression in vogue in Germany during the early decades of the 20th century.
The influence of Oskar Schlemmer, Oskar Kokoscka and Alfred Loos is evident in this tendency; Baumeister met Schlemmer during Adolf Hölzel’s lessons, while the rest were met during a trip to Vienna.
His work favoured basic geometric forms – rectangles, triangles and circles – combined in relief structures which he reinforced with contrasts of colour and the use of materials such as cardboard, plywood and metal sheeting, which showed his affinity with the cubism and purism of Le Corbusier, whom he met in Paris in 1924, together with Fernard Léger.
This creative phase is perfectly represented in the exhibition by works such as “Inclined figure” and “Head”, both of 1920, in which horizontal, vertical and diagonal, round and jutting elements combine to create idealised human forms.
Exhibition realised in collaboration with: Fundación Juan March, Barcelona; Baumeister Archive of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Willi Baumeister Stiftung.
Curated by Dieter Schwarz, Manuel Fontán del Junco and Alessandra TiddiaCurated by Alessandra Tiddia