Xanti (Alexander) Schawinsky - Explosion - image-1

Lot 100 D

Xanti (Alexander) Schawinsky - Explosion

Auction 1162 - overview Cologne
08.12.2020, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 35.000 € - 45.000 €
Result: 81.250 € (incl. premium)

Xanti (Alexander) Schawinsky


Oil and tempera on canvas 61.2 x 43.3 cm Verso signed, dated, and titled 'Schawinsky "explosion" 1926' in black. - Occasional inconspicuous retouches.

A certain witticism is initiated through the juxtaposition of the picture's title “Explosion” with the scarcely explosive effect of what is actually the cottony softness of the gently and silently floating geometric bodies, which seem to tenderly pass through one another in their alternatively translucent and opaque fomulations. An up and down, the relationship of the objects within the dark progression of the pictorial space, is provided by the compressed, boldly coloured objects cut off by the lower edge of the painting. These look like little individualised characters left behind on a theatrical stage; viewers positively seem to float along with the rest in “outer space”.
Themes like time, space and velocity always play a role in Xanti Schawinsky's work. In the mid-1920s, he joined Oskar Schlemmer's theatre class at the Bauhaus in Weimar; his first piece, “Circus”, was presented in 1925. In the year our picture was painted, 1926, he created related works featuring abstract and boldly colourful architectural forms. Schawinsky was an established and active part of the “Bauhaus Group” and friends with Walter Gropius, Herbert Bayer and Josef Albers, among others. In the 1930s, he went to Italy, where a stay in Milan brought him commissions from Olivetti, Cinzano and San Pellegrino and he made the acquaintance of Fontana, Melotti and the Futurists. In 1936 he accepted Josef Albers's invitation to come to Black Mountain College in the US.
The importance of our “Explosion” is demonstrated by the fact it was exhibited at the important show “50 Years of Bauhaus”, presented in Stuttgart in 1968.


With a photo-certificate by Xanti Schawinsky, Oggebbio, dated 27 March 1975


Artist's studio, New York/Oggebbio (until 1975); acquired by the previous owner at Galleria Blu, Milano, in 1975; Private collection, Italy


Stuttgart 1968 (Kunstgebäude am Schloßplatz), 50 Jahre Bauhaus, cat. no. 237, with full-page colour illus. p. 295 (stretcher labels verso)