1889 - Stuttgart - 1955
Lyrik mit Kammzug auf Blau-Grün
Oil with resin and plaster on fiberboard. 33.9/34.1 x 47.4 cm. Framed. Signed and dated (scratched) 'Baumeister 54' in black lower left. Additionally signed 'Baumeister' in pencil verso lower left and dated and titled 'Lyrik mit Kammzug/ auf Blau-Grün 1954' (barely legible) across at the top. Exhibition label of Galerie La Medusa, Rome, verso. - Minor loss of colour in some places along the edges.
Beye/F. Baumeister 2090 ("Whereabouts unknown", slightly divergent dimensions)
With a confirmation from Felicitas Baumeister, Archiv Baumeister, Stuttgart, dated 5 September 2016
Galleria del Fiore, Milan; La Medusa, Studio d'Arte, Rome; Petro Campilli, Rome; German private collection
Milan 1955 (Galleria del Fiore), Willi Baumeister - André Bloc; Rome 1957 (La Medusa, Studio d'Arte), Willi Baumeister, cat. no. (4) with illus.
Will Grohmann, Willi Baumeister. Leben und Werk, Cologne 1963, no. 1629 with illus. (here erroneously described as oil on card 37 x 47.5 cm)
Willi Baumeister's late work is characterised by the artist's sensitive striving to achieve a comprehensive modulation of pictorial space. His abstract formations are not just arranged on the canvas; instead, they are embedded in a rough, stucco-like ground. With their irregular and undefined edges, the biomorphic forms of the present painting literally merge with the complexly nuanced ground. This aspect also generates the work's specific dynamic, which seems to find a rhythmic balance in the variously structured formal elements' growing out of and penetrating into the blue-green ground.
During the final years of his life, Baumeister once again took up the combing technique that he had already introduced in the 1940s. The passage of combed white paint in the upper right corner underscores the pronounced materiality of the painted colour and simultaneously points to the immaterial qualities of light. Will Grohmann saw these lyrical compositions as the enigmatic culmination and conclusion of a rich oeuvre: “[…] at their roots the arts are analogous, particularly when they aim to restore the pure language of painting, the pure language of music or poetry and to produce for the inner eye, the inner ear. At the lower edge of almost every one of these paintings, there is an arabesque-like figure - light and seemingly incidental. Is this repeatedly recurring pictograph meant to become fixed in his audience's minds as a signature?” (Will Grohmann, Willi Baumeister: Leben und Werk, Cologne 1963, p. 156)