Willi Baumeister - Figurenmauer - image-1
Willi Baumeister - Figurenmauer - image-2
Willi Baumeister - Figurenmauer - image-1Willi Baumeister - Figurenmauer - image-2

Lot 4 D

Willi Baumeister - Figurenmauer

Auction 1187 - overview Cologne
03.12.2021, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 60.000 € - 80.000 €
Result: 68.750 € (incl. premium)

Willi Baumeister


Oil with resin on artist's board 44.8 x 58.7 cm Framed. Signed and dated in black 'Baumeister 46' (scratched into the wet paint) lower right. - Partially with minimal surface soiling. Otherwise in fine condition with fresh colours.

“The sometimes boldly colourful 'Figurenmauern' (beg. 1942) are fundamentally walls, not mythology, but in Baumeister's hands during these years everything became a fanciful figure from the realm of the mothers or a realisation of supranatural forces. His anti-rationalism causes the most improbable elements to seem most important to him […]” (Will Grohmann, Willi Baumeister, Leben und Werk, Cologne 1963, p. 104).

Willi Baumeister's important contribution to European modern art has been recognised many times. His deep interest in a dialogue spanning history and the present as well as his continuous occupation with the hidden forces of nature and the lost images of past cultures touch on thematic areas that also seem demonstrably relevant in our time and from today's perspective. The archaic masonry and stone walls of the ancient cultures of South and Central America may have provided the inspiration for Baumeister's impressive walls of figures. Between symbol-like forms, Baumeister's walls are populated by primordial figures, spirit-like beings containing an unmistakably ghostly or - as Grohmann writes - anti-rational element.

Our “Figurenmauer” materialises before the eyes of its viewers as if it were emerging from a fog, although it conveys a very open and not uncheerful aspect in its emphatic colourfulness. And our painting was in fact created during a period that marked a new beginning. After the end of World War II and the temporary prohibition from painting, Baumeister - who was denounced under the Nazi regime - was appointed to a professorship at the Stuttgart Academy of Art in March 1946; his important book “Das Unbekannte in der Kunst” was published shortly thereafter.

Catalogue Raisonné

Grohmann 907 (titled "Figurenmauer II"); Beye/F. Baumeister 1267


Dietrich Fey, Thalmühle (Holstein); Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart, 34. Auktion, 20/21 Nov.1959, lot 44; Private possession, Düsseldorf; La Medusa Studio d'Arte, Rome; Bartolo Gnutti, Bergamo; Sprovieri Agenzia d'Arte Moderne, Rome; Galerie Thomas, Munich (1980); Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia; in family possession since