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Willi Baumeister

Boxer

lithograph and collage on white handmade paper
1926
30,5 x 22,5 cm image/ 35,2 x 27,3 cm paper / 12 x 8 7/8 in.
signed and dated lower right edition of 30

In the 1920ies the avant-garde artists were fascinated by machines and sports. Both embodied the ‘Zeitgeist’ of the modern era, looking optimistically into the future and seemed to have left the narrowness and suppressions of the time before the First World War. Baumeister created his ‘Boxer’ in 1926, the year the famous German boxer Max Schmeling became German Champion and who later (1930) won the world championship. It is probable, that Baumeister felt inspired by this sportsman, who was the most popular figure in the German sports world at this time. Alfred Flechtheim, who was a sports enthusiast, called Schmeling one of the greatest artists. In 1928 Flechtheim had published the graphic portfolio “Sport und Maschine”, containing 20 reproductions after drawings of Baumeister. A year later Flechtheim presented a solo exhibition on works by Baumeister in Berlin and Dusseldorf, mainly with works from his series of the “Sportbilder I”. Baumeister developed this subject from the early 1920ies on, in parallel with other series. In this works the thematic emphasis puts ist focus on the human figure in movement and he abandoned from time to time the geometric vocabulary of his abstract forms. Baumeister later on called these works his contribution to the “Neue Sachlichkeit”.

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