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Lyric with white shapes (yellow-orange)
© Willi Baumeister / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Willi Baumeister

Lyrik mit weißen Formen (Gelb-Orange) / Lyric with white shapes (yellow-orange), 1949

Oil and resin on cardboard
31,9 × 50 cm

signed lower right: Baumeister; on the reverse titled and dated: Poetry with white forms (yellow-orange) 8.49
(BAUMEW/M 198)

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Provenance:
Etta and Otto Stangl Collection, Munich; Private collection Baden-Württemberg.
Exhibitions: Stangl Collection - From Klee to Poliakoff, Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen-Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst; Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, 1993/94, cat. P. 291, No. 210
Literature:
Peter Beye / Felicitas Baumeister, Willi Baumeister, Werkkatalog der Gemälde, vol. II, Ostfildern, 2002, no. 1322.

The picture "Lyric with White Forms" takes up various themes of Willi Baumeister from the late 1940s - among them the series of pictures "Urformen", "Urzeitgesalten", "Schwebender Geist", "Giganten" and others - that show, filling the format, the condensed constellation of figures that in this work from 1949 is reduced to an internal element in the upper part of the picture. The conglomerate of red-brown color, figurative suggestion and empty form is contrasted with a multi-layered arabesque of white and colored surfaces as well as intervening drawings. The titular white forms are formed out of geometric-rich planes and superimpose amorphous surfaces of various hues, of which yellow and orange dominate - this has been reflected in the bracket designation of the title. In the intermediary layer of drawings there are lines that reinterpret the foreground and background surfaces into figures and at the same time reveal a cosmic structure that culminates in black celestial bodies. What makes this pictorial language 'lyrical' is the light, playful, and enigmatic appearance of rhythmically divergent yet balanced situations - for it is nothing else when encounters occur in an abstract continuum of time and space. Willi Baumeister is one of the few artists who were able to paint even through the period from 1933 to 1945 in Germany, albeit in hiding, to be able to follow immediately thereafter. The palette becomes more cheerful, in the forms even more playful than before.
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