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phia refinery area. These were among a number of sculptural projects that were never created and exist only in the form of maquettes. Currently the Bayer family is working to try to realize some of his models as larger works in Denver and other cities. Bayer moved from Aspen to the Santa Barbara area in 1976. He lived there for the last ten years of his life. A fine collection of his work can be found in the Santa Barbara Museum, while The Herbert Bayer Archive is at the Denver Art Museum, with over 9000 artifacts in the collection. During the last four decades of his life, Herbert Bayer was well employed in design positions with the Container Corporation and ARCO. In addition to his corporate responsibilities he developed a significant fine art portfolio during these years. Artistically Bayer is probably better known for his earlier photomontages from the Berlin years (1928-1938). Having two significant patrons in Walter Paepcke and Robert O. Anderson, there was little need for Herbert Bayer the fine artist to go through the normal routine of gallery exhibitions and reviews necessary for artwork to find its way into important private and public collections. The town of Aspen is full of Herbert Bayer paintings that moved directly from studio to private hands. To a certain degree his reputation as a painter, printmaker and sculptor never received the critical acclaim that exhibitions and reviews would have allowed. He suffered a bit from being too successful. In his later years Bayer used his graphic skills to create fine art prints, using lithography and silkscreen, the same mediums used in his commercial work. A skill learned in one area is used in another. In these graphic images, as in his later paintings, he returns to geometric design and abstraction in a se-

ries of works he called “anthologies”. In these works the Bauhaus artist has returned to basics: color, geometry and design. The sculpture he produced during these same years still maintains a freshness today, thanks to his combination of clean design and primary colors. His surrealist photomontages from the 1920’s hold as much shock value today as they did then. The success and legacy of Herbert Bayer are the combination of Bauhaus ideas and American optimism from the post WWII period applied to a work ethic and career which lasted until his death in 1985. It is the combination of clean design and a fresh palette of primary colors that explain the continuing appeal of his artwork. His work is optimistic and easy to live with, the result of his lifelong adherence to good design. More than any of his contemporaries, Herbert Bayer stayed true to his Bauhaus ideals through his sixty-year career. Hugo Anderson is the Director of Emil Nelson Gallery, which represents the works of Herbert Bayer from the Bayer Family Collection.



American Contemporary Art (January 2011)  

An issue of American Contemporary Art magazine, published in January 2011.