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THE REALM of THE SPIRIT

RUDOLF BAUER

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THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT RUDOLF BAUER

Front cover: Spiritual Pleasures (RB0689) (detail), see page 19 Inside covers: Prison Drawing 13 (RB0210) Colored pencil on paper 6½ x 9 inches 1938


T

he true story of Rudolf Bauer is perhaps one of the most complex, tragic, and ironic of 20th century art history. Rudolf Bauer was a pioneering German-born artist who, along with Vasily Kandinsky, was among the first abstract artists in the world. His “non-objective” abstract style would go on to influence virtually all aspects of modern art and serve as a beacon to Pollock, Rothko, and other artists who formed the New York school of Abstract Expressionism. In the first half of the 20th century, Bauer’s works were displayed alongside such luminaries as Picasso, Chagall, Miró, Mondrian, and Kandinsky, in numerous galleries and museums throughout the world. However by the end of World War II, Bauer had stopped painting and fell into obscurity. Rudolf Bauer was born in Lindenwald, county Wirsitz near Bromberg, Province of Posen, to middle class parents who moved the family to Berlin in his youth. Bauer made art from an early age, and his drawings and caricatures were featured in many of the leading magazines. In 1915 he was invited to join Der Sturm, the premiere avant-garde gallery of the day. At Der Strum he discovered the work of Vasily Kandinsky and began making “non-objective” art. In this same period he met Hilla Rebay, a fellow artist, with whom he would have a tempestuous, lifelong relationship. Rebay moved to New York in 1927 and there met Solomon Guggenheim, whom she introduced to non-objective art. Guggenheim began to amass an extraordinary collection that would come to include over 200 works by Bauer. In 1938 Bauer was imprisoned by the Gestapo. By arranging a bribe, Guggenheim and Rebay were able to get him released, and


he moved to the United States. His relationship with Rebay and Guggenheim soured when he signed a contract with Guggenheim that required him to leave his future output to the Guggenheim Foundation for a monthly stipend. Bauer never painted again. Guggenheim died in 1949, and Rebay was forced to resign as director from the museum by the new trustees, who had different ideas about the museum’s future. Bauer’s work was relegated to the basement. Today Bauer and his work are being rediscovered. For more on Rudolf Bauer go to: www.bauerarchive.com Bauer with his paintings Yellow & Green (c. 1930–32) and Green Point (1920) in Berlin, c. 1930s

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PA I N T I N G S


Allegro V (RB0902) Oil on board 23½ x 33½ inches c. 1918

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Bommb (RB0700) Oil on canvas 29 x 41 inches 1920

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Con Roso (RB0687) Oil on board 29 x 40½ inches 1918

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Concentric (RB0699) Oil on board 29 x 40Âź inches 1925

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Heavy and Light (RB0688) Oil on board 29 x 40¾ inches 1921

Pages 8 and 9: Presto XI (RB0575) Oil on board 29½ x 38 inches 1917 10


Vivace 6 (RB0639) Oil on board 28 x 40他 inches 1918

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Larghetto III (RB0197b) Oil on board 241/8 x 337/8 inches 1919

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Robu (RB0681) Oil on masonite 28½ x 40 inches 1934

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Quiet (RB0680) Oil on masonite 29 x 40Âź inches 1925

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White Point (RB0679) Oil on masonite 29 x 40¼ inches 1922–23

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GEBU (RB0691) Oil on board 28½ x 40½ inches c. 1923

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Sinfonie 23 (RB0578) Oil on canvas 29½ x 39½ inches 1919

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Fuguetta (RB0694) Oil on canvas 51½ x 23½ inches 1935 18


Spiritual Pleasures (RB0689) Oil on canvas 51¼ x 51¼ inches 1935–38

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Andante (RB0702) Oil on canvas 51½ x 51½ inches 1938

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Center Accent (RB0649) Oil on canvas 37¾ x 51½ inches 1935

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Colored Swinging (RB0361) Oil on canvas 513/8 x 61Âź inches 1935

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w o rks o n paper


Römisches Wagenrennen von Ulpiano Chéca (RB1218) Ink and gouache on paper 11¼ x 195/8 inches 1905

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Untitled (Bugeye) (RB1158) Ink on paper 111/8 x 11¼ inches c. 1914–20

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Untitled (hammock) (RB0663) Watercolor and ink on paper 20 x 12¼ inches c. 1906–10 26


Die ollen Dicken (RB0677) Watercolor and gouache on paper 171/8 x 101/8 inches 1907 27


Untitled (RB0552) Gouache and pastel on paper 18½ x 13 inches c. 1914–25 28


Untitled (RB2630) Gouache, pastel, and charcoal on paper 20½ x 16¼ inches c. 1910–16

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Untitled (RB2195) Gouache and ink on paper 17 7/8 x 14 7/8 inches c. 1922–27

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Untitled (RB1009) Pastel, ink, and gouache on paper 17½ x 11½ inches c. 1916–25 31


Untitled (RB2242) Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper 213/8 x 183/8 inches c. 1922–29

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Untitled (RB1254) Watercolor and gouache on paper 19½ x 15½ inches c. 1906–10

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Untitled (futuristic equestrian #12) (RB1728) Gouache and ink on paper 155/8 x 107/8 inches c. 1912–18 34


Untitled (RB2713) Ink and pencil on paper (Ink proof master) 133/8 x 61/8 inches c. 1913–20 35


Improvisation IX (RB2715) Gouache on paper 247/8 x 37½ inches c. 1913


Allegro (RB0690) Watercolor on paper 173/8 x 115/8 inches 1922 38


Untitled (RB0686) Gouache, charcoal, and pencil on paper 17¾ x 11½ inches c. 1920–25 39


Happy (RB0371b) Watercolor, ink, tempera, and conte crayon on paper 171/8 x 12他 inches 1925 40


Impression XXXVII (RB0701) Gouache on paper 115/8 x 87/8 inches c. 1913–23 41


Untitled (RB0685) Ink, gouache, and collage on paper 17¼ x 12½ inches c. 1921 42


Green Point (RB0693) Gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper 171/8 x 125/8 inches c. 1926–27 43


rudolf bauer chronology 1889 Born in Lindenwald, Germany (now Poland), the son of an engine fitter. 1904–10 Settles in Berlin and publishes elaborate cartoons and illustrations for newspapers and magazines; studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Berlin. 1912 Art dealer Herwarth Walden opens the avant-garde Galerie Der Sturm. Bauer meets Walden, who will support his work for the next fifteen years. 1915 Exhibits in Galerie Der Sturm group show for the first time. 1916 Through the Der Sturm group, meets Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiesen, a 25-year-old baroness and art student. 1917 First solo exhibition at Galerie Der Sturm; includes 120 abstract works. 1918 Writes first important theoretical essay, “The Cosmic Movement.” Second solo exhibition at Galerie Der Sturm. Exhibits in Der Sturm group show at Georg Kleis Kunsthandel, Copenhagen. Co-founds the Novembergruppe with Rudolf Belling, Otto Freundlich, and Max Pechstein. 1919 Shares studio with Rebay. Top: Rudolf Bauer as a young man Bottom: Hilla Rebay and Rudolf Bauer, c. 1916–25

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Founds short-lived art group with Rebay and Otto Nebel called Die Krater. 1920 Third solo show at Galerie Der Sturm. Exhibits work in Rome as part of a Novembergruppe exhibition organized by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder of Futurism and a friend of Bauer. Katherine Dreier founds the Société Anonyme; its fall exhibition, held in New York, includes works by Bauer, Man Ray, Kurt Schwitters, and others. 1921 Included in five Société Anonyme exhibitions, among them a show at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass. Writes “Manifesto of Painting,” which serves as the main text for the publication celebrating the 100th exhibition by the Der Sturm group. Graphic work reproduced in “Monatsschrift für Kultur und die Kunste,” also published by Galerie Der Sturm. Publishes a lithograph as part of a Bauhaus portfolio. Rudolf Bauer with a group of fellow artists from the “Abstraction” section of the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, c. 1926. Photo published in the newspaper DerWelt Spiegel.

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1922 Included in Société Anonyme exhibitions at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, among others. 1923 Exhibits at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., as part of a Société Anonyme show. Der Sturm publishes 175-page volume, Einblick in Kunst, Expressionismus, Futurismus, Kubismus, documenting the 150th exhibition since its founding. 1926 Included in the exhibition Grosse berliner Kunstausstellung. 1927 Hilla Rebay sails to the United States. Solo exhibition Royal Palace, Berlin. 1928 Rebay meets the wealthy philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and begins a portrait commission. As she paints him she encourages Guggenheim to start a collection of Non-Objective art. 1930 Meets Kandinsky at Dessau, where he is teaching at the Bauhaus. Rebay travels to Europe with the Guggenheims to introduce them to the Non-Objective artists in person. They meet Kandinsky in Dessau and Bauer in Berlin. Bauer founds his own gallery in Berlin, in part with funds supplied by Guggenheim, through Rebay, in exchange for paintings. He Exterior, and interior salon of Das Geistreich Museum in Berlin

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Solomon R. Guggenheim, Rebay’s mother, Irene Guggenheim, unidentified man, Rudolf Bauer, Rebay’s father, and Hilla Rebay in Germany, 1930

calls it Das Geistreich, which translates as Realm of the Spirit, but also means ingenious. 1931 Produces a deluxe portfolio titled Das Geistreich, which includes writings on Non-Objective art and reproductions of his work. Lectures in German schools and universities. 1932 Mounts exhibition at Das Geistreich: Werke von Kandinsky und Bauer. Walden closes Galerie Der Sturm and moves to Russia. 1933 Included in the exhibition Modern European Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His painting Symphony, in the Guggenheim collection, is featured on the cover of the museum’s bulletin. 1934 Exhibits again at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in Modern Works of Art.

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1935 Publishes a manifesto,“Eppure Si Muove” (“And Still It Moves”). 1936 Guggenheim publicly exhibits his Collection of Non-Objective Paintings for the first time, at the Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery in Charleston, S.C. Bauer attends this exhibition, his first visit to the U.S. A solo exhibition follows at the Arts Club of Chicago, which he visits. Returns to Berlin. 1937 Guggenheim collection presented at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Work is included in Degenerate Art show in Munich. Included in Innovation, une nouvelle ére artistique at the Galerie Chanth, Paris; Bauer’s Points (1936) is reproduced on exhibition catalogue cover. Large group exhibition, Origines et développement de l’art international indépendant, takes place at the Musée du Jeu de Paume (an annex of the Louvre for modern work) in Paris and includes Bauer; museum acquires one painting by Bauer. Visits both Paris exhibitions, returning to Berlin after each show. The Nazis order Das Geistreich closed. 1938 Is arrested by the Nazi government around March in Berlin and placed in a Gestapo prison. Second exhibition of Guggenheim collection at Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery, takes place. Is released in July with the help of Rebay and Guggenheim and following two meetings between Franz-Hugo von Rebay, Hilla’s brother, and the Gestapo prison officials. Front and back of a prison drawing, 1938

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Museum of Non-Objective Painting opens in Manhattan in 1939 to exhibit the Solomon R. Guggenheim collection of non-objective painting.

1939 Exhibition of Guggenheim collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art; handbook of collection is published, which includes 415 NonObjective works and 309 works “with an object.” Collection has 215 Bauer works and 103 works by Kandinsky. The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, housing the Guggenheim collection and curated by Hilla Rebay, opens on June 1 at 24 East 54th Street in Manhattan, one block away from the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is called the Art of Tomorrow. The gallery concept and design are strongly influenced by Bauer’s Das Geistreich. Selections from the Guggenheim collection are included in Le Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, an exhibition organized in part by artist Robert Delaunay for the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. Arrives in the United States in August. Lives several months with Rebay at her home in Greens Farms, Connecticut, eventually moving to a house in Deal, New Jersey. Signs infamous contract with Guggenheim, in which he unwittingly agrees to “sell” 110 works to the Guggenheim Foundation in exchange for a monthly stipend based on interest income instead of a lump-sum payment. Will dispute the contract terms and the Foundation’s control of his art for the rest of his life. 1941–45 Included in Guggenheim Foundation loan shows at the San Diego Art Gallery; galleries in Massilon, Ohio, and Springfield, Mass.; Dallas Art Museum; Pennsylvania State Center; The Arts Club, Washington, D.C.; a museum in La Plata, Argentina; and Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pa.

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1942–43 Rebay, still a German citizen, is briefly arrested by the U.S. government for possible Nazi connections (unfounded). Ironically, Bauer is allowed total freedom because he was rescued from the Nazis. In Rebay’s absence, he takes over briefly as the Foundation’s director, a role he has long desired. Guggenheim, however, reconfirms Rebay as director, when she is cleared of the charges. 1943 Through Rebay, Frank Lloyd Wright is commissioned to design a museum as a permanent home for the Guggenheim collection. This decision infuriates Bauer who had been led to believe the architect would be a German, perhaps a former Bauhaus instructor, several of whom are living in the United States. 1944 Bauer marries Louise Huber, a German-speaking Austrian woman hired originally as his maid. This greatly upsets Rebay, who insults Louise in writing. Bauer sues Rebay for slander. This represents the final personal, though not artistic, rift between the two, and begins to alienate Guggenheim from Bauer. 1945 Rebay wins the slander suit against her. Top: Louise Huber, who would become Rudolf Bauer’s wife in 1944 Bottom: Exterior of Museum of NonObjective Painting, 1948

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1946 Included in Cubist and Non-Objective Paintings, John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis. 1947 Included in the second Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris; exhibition travels to Mannheim and Zurich. 1948 The Museum of Non-Objective Painting moves to 1071 Fifth Avenue (where the current Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum now stands). Museum presents a group exhibition of its permanent collection, which includes Bauer’s work. 1949 Solomon R. Guggenheim dies at age 88. Tenth Anniversary exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. 1950 Included in exhibition at Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Berlin. 1952 Included in Evolution to Non-Objectivity, Guggenheim Museum, New York. Hilla Rebay is forced to resign from the directorship of the Guggenheim Foundation by Harry Guggenheim and is replaced Louise and Rudolf in Deal, New Jersey, c. 1945

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Rudolf Bauer, c. 1940s

by James Johnson Sweeney. Subsequently most of the Bauer collection is relegated to the Museum’s storage. 1953 Dies of lung cancer at his home in Deal, on November 28, at the age of 64. 1955 Art of Tomorrow: Bauer–Kandinsky–Rebay, Exhibition of Non-Objective Painting takes place at Florida Southern College, Lakeland. 1959 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens with a group exhibition, in which Bauer is not included. Wright has died six months prior to the building’s completion; Rebay is not invited to the opening. 1967 Rebay dies at her home at age 77. Bauer is Included in Seven Decades, A Selection, at the Guggenheim Museum. 1968 Acquisitions of the 1930s and 1940s, a tribute exhibition to Rebay at the Guggenheim Museum, includes works by Bauer. 1969 Solo exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne. 1970 Solo exhibition at Hutton-Hutschnecker Gallery, New York. Solo exhibition at Städtisches Museum, Wiesbaden. Solo exhibition at Galerie Withofs, Brussels. Included in the exhibition The Non-Objective World: 1914–1924, Annely Juda Fine Art, London. 1972 Included in The Museum of Non-Objective Painting at Washburn Gallery, New York.

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1973 Included in exhibition The Non-Objective World: 1914–1955, Annely Juda Fine Art, London, an expanded version of its 1970 exhibition; it travels to the University Art Museum, University of Texas, Austin. Comprehensive solo exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne. Solo exhibition at Galerie Valentien, Stuttgart. 1974 Included in De Stijl: Circle et Carré, Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne. Solo exhibition at Galleria del Levante, Milan. 1976 Solo exhibition, Rudolf Bauer 1889–1953: The Constructivist Years, at Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York. Included in The Guggenheim Museum Collection: Paintings 1880– 1945, Guggenheim Museum, New York. 1981 Included in Herwarth Walden and Der Sturm: Artist and Publications, La Boetie Gallery, New York. 1985 Retrospective exhibition, Rudolf Bauer 1889–1953 takes place at the 20er Haus (Museum of the Twentieth Century), Vienna: travels to Stäatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin. Included in Vom Klang der Bilder: Die Musik in der Kunst des 20 Jahrhunderts, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. Included in The Twenties in Germany, CDR Fine Arts Ltd., London. 1987 Solo exhibition at Borghi & Co., New York. 20th Century Masters: Painting, Watercolors, Drawings and Prints at Lafayette Parke Gallery, New York. 1988 Rudolf Bauer, Rolph Scarlett, Hilla Rebay takes place at Sid Deutsch Gallery, New York. Rudolf Bauer: Bilder aus den 1930er Jahren und satirische Zeichnungen 1910–1930 at Galerie & Edition Schlegl, Zurich. 1989 Rudolf Bauer: Centennial Exhibition, organized by Portico New York; travels to Fiorella Urbinati Gallery, Los Angeles; Cologne Art Fair; Struve Gallery, Chicago; and Philadelphia Art Alliance.

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1991 Included in Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which travels to the Art Institute of Chicago. 1992 Rudolf Bauer: Paintings, Watercolors and Graphics at Harcourts Modern, San Francisco. 1995 Included in Die neue Wirklichkeit: Abstraktion als Weltentwurf at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. Included in Champions of Modernism: Non-Objective Art of the 1930s and 40s and Its Legacy, which travels through 1998 to Castle Gallery, College of New Rochelle, N.Y.; Mary Washington College Galleries, Fredericksburg, Va.; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, S.C.; Sunrise Museum of Art, Charleston, W.V.; Brevard Museum of Art and Science, Melbourne, Fla.; and Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Fla. Included in Okkultismus und Avantgarde, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. 1996 Included in Abstraction in the 20th Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline, at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Included in The Museum of Non-Objective Painting at Snyder Fine Art, New York. 1999 Included in The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900–1950, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 2000 Included in Four NonObjective Painters at Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery, New York. Film still from a 1941 newsreel of the celebration of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s 80th birthday. Left to right, Hilla Rebay, Guggenheim, and Rudolf Bauer

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The Art of Rudolf Bauer: From Berlin to New York 1910–1940 at Connaught Brown Gallery, London. 2003 Included in The Omnipotent Dream: Man Ray, Confluences and Influences, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. 2004 Included in European Art between the Wars, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, N.Y. 2005 Rudolf Bauer: Berlin Drawings and Prints of the 1920s and 1930s at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Fla. Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, includes many works by Bauer; it travels in 2005–06 to Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, and Schlossmuseum Murnau; and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. Solo exhibition, Master Drawings from the Concentration Camps, at Tobey Fine Arts, New York. (Bauer was never actually in a concentration camp; his confinement was in a Gestapo prison.) Included in Hilla Rebay: A Baroness in Westport, Westport Historical Society, Westport, Conn. Included in Hilla Rebay and The Museum of Non-Objective Painting at DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Top: Portrait of Rudolf Bauer by Hilla Rebay, c. 1920 Bottom: Charcoal drawing of Hilla Rebay by Bauer, c. 1917–21

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2006 Part of the Société Anonyme: Modernism for America exhibition at the Armand Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; it will travel through 2010 to The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art; Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn. Included in an exhibition of work from the Guggenheim Museum collection at Kunst-und Ausstelungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, and the Kunstmuseum Bonn. 2007 Comprehensive solo exhibition at Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. 2008 Documentary produced on Bauer’s life by KRON-4 TV, San Francisco: Betrayal: The Life and Art of Rudolf Bauer. Airs on KRON-4, as well as Ovation cable TV. Selected for the Jersey Shore Film Festival and the Strasbourg International Film Festival. 2010 Exhibition of works on paper at Weinstein Gallery; catalogue produced with extensive essay by German art scholar and former Museum of Modern Art Chief Curator, Peter Selz. 2012 Der Sturm: Zentrum der Avantgarde, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Germany, represented by Sinfonie 23 (lent by Weinstein Gallery) and Con Brio 5, lent by MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst, Siftung Ludwig, Vienna. 2013 Six works on paper included in Draw and Shoot: Fashion Illustrations and Photography from the Collection at Boca Raton Museum of Art. 2014 The Realm of the Spirit—A Rudolf Bauer Retrospective at Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco. Bauer, a play by Lauren Gunderson, opens at the San Francisco Playhouse, Rudolf Bauer in Deal, San Francisco. New Jersey, c. 1940s

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Photographs from Rudolf Bauer Estate and Archive, San Francisco; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York; Rudolf Bauer Papers, 1918-1983, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Hilla Rebay Archives, Wessling, Germany.


Hilla Rebay, Solomon R. Guggenheim, and Rudolf Bauer in Germany, 1930

Weinstein Gallery 353 Geary Street, San Francisco, California 94102 weinstein.com

The Realm of the Spirit - Rudolf Bauer  

Exhibition catalogue for "The Realm of the Spirit—Rudolf Bauer" at Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

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