ARTISTS / Modern art
Willi Baumeister

Africa
© Willi Baumeister / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Willi Baumeister

Afrika / Africa, 1942

Oil with resin and putty on cardboard
35,5 × 45,5 cm

signed lower right: Baumeister
(BAUMEW/M 81)

price upon request
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Provenance: Collection Hans Warnecke, Stuttgart

Literature: Ausst.Kat. Willi Baumeister, Entdeckung neuer Bildwelten, Galerie Schlichtenmaier Grafenau/Stuttgart, Grafenau/Stuttgart, 2008, p. 36, fig. p. 37; Peter Beye / Felicitas Baumeister, Willi Baumeister. Werkkatalog der Gemälde, vol. II, Ostfildern 2002, no. 966; Will Grohmann, Willi Baumeister. Leben und Werk, Cologne 1963, no. 642 with ill.

The 1942 painting "Africa" belongs to the high points of Willi Baumeister's "Africa" series, in which he turned his inner image of what he imagined under the "Africa-nical" to the outside. The reduced forms are cut out of the white ground of the putty in black and colors mixed with black. While the light, irregularly applied putty enlivens the ground, almost spatializes it, the dark forms stand ornamentally in the pictorial space. At their edges, they merge blurrily into the white pictorial space, so that they appear unreal, intangible, like a "mirage". Comparable to the tonal color of African desert landscapes, Baumeister uses only a few color values. The picture impression is determined by the contrast of light and dark. The references of the body and figure forms can thus be set in relation to each other in a freely fabulating manner. In his "Africa pictures" Baumeister illustrates less impressions of African or Egyptian culture, in the sense of exoticism or ethnographic insights, but rather the "imago" (Will Grohmann), his inner image. Comparable to Paul Klee's diverse pictorial creations, Baumeister here creates his very own cosmos of mythical forms and contents, in which he creates a counterworld freed from civilizational constraints.
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