Creative Phases

In these sections, numerous examples offer an overview of the most important developments of his production. Special work complexes - such as stage design, typography, and graphic prints - are discussed as individual aspects.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 1686

Willi Baumeister's work largely represents the development of abstract painting in Germany and Europe. His first works, though, still show the influence of his academic training and in particular the styles prevalent at the turn of the nineteenth century.

WVZ Spielmann/Baumeister 170b

In his last work phase innumerable magical fantasy-beings emerge that no longer derive from the archaic world of earlier years. With them, Willi Baumeister developed his characteristic form of abstraction further and again found new direction. In many paintings as in serigraphs, with which he was intensely occupied, he again took up several themes and formal problems from his earlier work. In this way Baumeister's work from 1950 to 1955 gained many facets as seldom before.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 1057

Willi Baumeister single-mindedly developed an impressive, very personal visual language that was unique in German art immediately after 1945. The recognition he received in the postwar period, in particular in the 1950s in Germany and abroad, was correspondingly strong. On the one hand, there are impulses from a variety of his representational work periods.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 0964

Even though Baumeister had been imposed with an exhibition ban, his work and its development in the period between 1940 and the end of World War II were diverse. The African sculpture in which he saw universal images of human existence was reflected in an increasingly strong colorfulness. Wall forms and positive-negative structures also dominated the work. Moreover, great drawing cycles emerged alongside the paintings.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 0671

Baumeister's painterly development was not interrupted by the loss of his professorship in Frankfurt in 1933. His work and its development were correspondingly varied, even in the period after the National Socialist assumption of power. Out of a highly painterly work phase, he developed the extraordinarily reductive, organic, and symbol-like Ideograms in this brief work section beginning around 1936.

ab-f-003-001

A great number of photographs from Willi Baumeister's studio and residence are preserved in the artist's estate. These not only illustrate the spectrum of his work within a time period; they are also an important resource in light of his missing or destroyed works. Also interesting in each case is how the artist himself arranged his pictures.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 0456

Organic Forms and Movement

In 1928 Willi Baumeister took on a professorship in Frankfurt am Main. In these years the forms in his pictures grew increasingly softer. He developed new ideas and gradually replaced the severe constructivist painting with organic form. In this way he was able to turn more strongly to the motif of movement. In this phase, paintings with sand increasingly appeared that materially and formally approached what he admired on cave painting.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 0241

Starting Out and Modernity

In his second period of production, after World War I until the end of the 1920s, Baumeister resolved the traditional connection between form and color. He increasingly reduced and abstracted his representational painting in the direction of geometric form - elemental form in Baumeister's view.

WVZ Beye/Baumeister 0026

From Impressionism to Pure Form

Willi Baumeister's work largely represents the development of abstract painting in Germany and Europe. His first works, though, still show the influence of his academic training and in particular the styles prevalent at the turn of the nineteenth century.