Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A SWISS PRIVATE COLLECTION
Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)

Composition No. 167 (a triptych)

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)
Composition No. 167 (a triptych)
all signed, inscribed and dated 'Vordemberge-Gildewart Triptychon no. 167/1947' (on the stretchers)
pencil and oil on canvas
each 100 x 80 cm.; overall 100 x 240 cm.
Painted in 1947-48
Kunsthaus, Zürich, 1956.
Acquired from the above by the late owner.
F. Vordemberge-Gildewart, ed., Vordemberge-Gildewart. époque Néerlandaise, Vol. II, Amsterdam 1949.
H.L.C. Jaffé, Vordemberge-Gildewart: Schriften und Vorträge, St Gallen 1976.
J. Schäfer, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart. Studien zu einer beschreibenden Werkanalyse, Frankfurt am Main 1984.
D. Helms, Vordemberge-Gildewart, The complete works, Munich 1990, no. K167 (illustrated p. 313).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vrij beelden, 8 October - 7 November 1948, no. 41.
Cologne, Galerie Ferdinand Möller, Vordemberge-Gildewart, Arbeiten aus den Jahren 1923-1954, 18 September - 16 October 1954, no. 23 (illustrated).
Ulm, Kunstverein, Ulmer Museum, Werke aus den Jahren 1923-1954, 5 June - 3 July 1955, no. 24.
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart - Josef Albers - Fritz Glarner, 28 April - 10 June 1956, no. 122.
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Sammlung Geschwister Bechtler, 19 August - 30 September 1956, no. 102 (illustrated).
Eindhoven, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart - Laszio Moholy-Nagy, 20 January - 5 March 1967, no. 44.
Basel, Kunsthalle Basel, Camille Graeser - Friedrich Vordemberge Gildewart - Franz Danksin, 18 March - 23 April 1967, no. 108
Ulm, Ulmer Museum, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, 20 April - 1 June 1975, no. 74.
Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, 1 July - 31 December 1975.
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Sammlungen Hans und Walter Bechtler, 20 August - 3 October 1982 (illustrated p. 165).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. “ ! ”: Lot is imported from outside the EU. For each Lot the Buyer’s Premium is calculated as 37.75% of the Hammer Price up to a value of €30,000, plus 31.7% of the Hammer Price between €30,001 and €1,200,000, plus 22.02% of any amount in excess of €1,200,000.
Sale room notice
Please note that the medium should read: pencil and oil on canvas

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Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

In 1947 Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart painted the present triptych, which he named in his common manner by consecutive numbers from 1924 to 1962: Composition No. 167. In the early 1920's Vordemberge-Gildewart was an important member of the abstract avant-garde in Germany, where he gave his first lecture expressing his views on 'the absolute'. In this lecture he criticized Kandinsky's theory set forth in 'Über das Geistige in der Kunst' because Kandinsky still dealt, according to Vordemberge-Gildewart, with a certain 'content'. Contrary to Kandinsky's view, Vordemberge-Gildewart expressed that real absolute art does not have a content. He emphasized that "The spiritual in art does not exist and the consequence of this is the absolute Gestaltung. For absolute art so-called content and object are totally impossible." He even regarded colour and form, contrast and space (time is also included) as the only content and his conclusion is that "Form alone is dominant, it is no dummy and it has no longer any contact with natural phenomena". (D. Helms, 1990, op.cit., p. 203).

With his strong opinion about art, Vordemberge-Gildewart soon became an important person for the abstract art movement in Europe. In 1924 Vordemberge-Gildewart formed 'Gruppe K' and later Kurt Schwitters introduced him as a member of the 'Abstraction Hannover'. Other important influences came from El Lissitzky, who stayed in Hanover for a short period, and the meetings with Theo van Doesburg in 1925, when Vordemberge-Gildewart would become a member of De Stijl. His contacts outside the country intensified as those inside Germany weakened: life for an artist in Germany became increasingly difficult after the Nazis came to power.

To flee from the dangerous situation in Germany in the late 1930's Vordemberge-Gildewart and his wife Ilse Leda decided to move to Amsterdam. Earlier plans to move to Italy and Switzerland had failed, but through contacts he made with various artists in the Netherlands in the spring of 1938 when taking part in an exhibition entitled 'Abstracte Kunst' in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, he and his wife could emigrate to the Netherlands. Willem Sandberg, who was the museum curator of the modern art department at the time, had been an admirer of Vordemberge-Gildewart and helped the artist to find his first home in Amsterdam and a job as a graphic designer for the Stedelijk Museum. Although painting was difficult for Vordemberge-Gildewart during the war, he never lost his passion for the abstract in art.

About the relation bewteen absolute art and music the artist mentioned :"From Cezanne and Seurat via the futurists and cubists, absolute colour representation has brought painting back to its original domain. Since the introduction of absolute colour representation painting has, as it were, reached the infinite which hitherto could only be said of music." (D. Helms, 1990, op.cit. p. 200). The equality between art and music is the unhearable. To Vordemberge-Gildewart the main exponent of 'absolute music' was Bach. It is this specific reference to music which is interesting with regard to the present lot. Dietrich Helms noted about the triptych: "Composition No. 167' was a completely free interrelationship arranged across three fields placed side by side. The association with music which Vordemberge-Gildewart mentioned in the interview is very clear in this example. It is very hard not to associate the triptych with musical concepts: the left-hand panel is a kind of prelude, made up with lines with black accents between and alongside them at different heights, a figuration which opens out into the centerpiece. Here, a complex figuration with an apparently twisting motion leads from a delicate, forceful diagonal line, to an opposing suspended bar-shaped element divided into two colours, with delicate lines leading diagonally across below it. The third field represents a kind of closing chord, formed from three broad horizontal stripes crossed by lines of different colours, and a triangle. The triptych can be seen as the three movements of a symphony, primarily to be read from left to right, but also as a circular movement leading back to the beginning and transcending the individual fields of the triptych. The involvement of the spaces between and around the work is inevitable in such a painting consisting of more than one section."(D. Helms, 1990, op.cit, p. 240).

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