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Willi Baumeister

Two Sitting Figures

pencil and charcoal over a charcoal sketch on chamois colored cardboard
1928
40,4 x 33,6 cm / 15 7/8 x 13 1/4 in.
signed and dated lower right, inscribed '214' lower left, as well as inscribed 'P 42' lower right outside the edging line verso with studio stamp and estate number 1154 of the Baumeister Archive

For Baumeister, painting and drawing held equal importance within his artistic work. He once referred to his drawings as his greatest treasure. Even so, there were phases in which he turned more strongly to drawing and graphic works: during the professorship in Frankfurt, which he received in 1928, and the last war years before 1945. In the former, he had less time for work at the easel than before; in the latter case, the lack of canvas and oil paint forced Baumeister to switch to other techniques. The present drawing was created in 1928, in his so called constructivist period. In this time Baumeister developed a drawing technique which put the focus on only a few subjects, giving the priority to design principles. Baumeister carved the contours of the composition on a chamois colored drawing cardboard from a sketch pad, which he had sketched before with charcoal. With pencil and charcoal he developed then, also with a special wiping technique, a complex interaction of different shades of grey and dark contrasts, which leads to a subtle impact of the actual monochrome drawing and shows the virtuosity of Baumeister’s artistic language.

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