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Willi Baumeister

Painter and Palette

oil and sand on canvas
65 x 54 cm / 25 5/8 x 21 1/4 in.
signed and dated on the stretcher on the reverse 'Willi Baumeister 29 der Maler mit palette 1929'

As one of the most important protagonists of abstract painting, the German artist, illustrator, stage designer, and art theorist, Willi Baumeister was an essential part of the post-war European avant-garde. Painted in 1929 “Maler mit Palette” (Painter and Palette) is a quintessential example of the playful abstraction the artist developed from the 1920s to his death in 1955. He was inspired by archaic mythology, foreign cultures, primitive art, cave paintings, symbols, and signs. From 1919 on Baumeisters subjects circled around the human figure and he was turning himself towards abstraction. From 1928 on he gradually abandoned the rigorous, constructivist forms in favor of a more organic vocabulary: his works become more pictorial and his shapes gained more movement. Furthermore he started working with sand, which he applied to the canvas together with oil paint and which leads to exciting and unusual contrasts. Like many other artists, the theme of the painter and the model fascinated Baumeister. He repeatedly made the motif the theme of his paintings, for the first time in a series of works in 1913. In the years from 1920 to 1933 he created a large number of paintings (around 40) of the themes of painter, draughtsman, model, studio - united in the catalogue raisonné as the period headed "The Painter".

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