Baumeister's post-war work is marked by a lightness and clarity that underlines the Artist's newly found freedom after years of artistic repression under the Nazi regime. Metaphysische Landschaft mit Volute II is a classic example of Baumeister's unique stylistic device of combing the thickly applied paint surface, to create the rich and varied surface texture that became the hallmark of his Kammbilder or comb paintings.
The present work forms part of Baumeister's celebrated Metaphysische Landschaften, a series of paintings completed between 1944 and 1954. They are characterised by their elevated horizon line, and their focus on the textures of the foreground, presenting the colourful shapes and forms like primeval life-forms or mysterious objects found at archaeological excavations. The Volute from which the present work takes its name, clearly suggests a classical architectural reference. Taken from the Ionic order of classical antiquity, the volute is used here both as the central motif and in the background, where it is perched above a conical column. However, though essentially happy in mood, the paintings from this series are devoid of the human form. As Will Grohmann noted on the Metaphysical landscapes: "The figural element is missing. There is not a sign of people; the stage is set, the cue has been given, but man does not appear. It seems as if he feared the very fact of man's existence - no matter if merely make-believe - would distrub the absoluteness of the gaiety, the metaphysics of the landscape. As in Two Epochs, Baumeister has replace4d the figures with pure, geometrical forms - segments of circles, ellipses, conical sections - and pure colours - blue, yellow, red. And, as in that picture, the contrast between abstraction and animation, law and chance, produces the tension of reason and instinct, mind and matter, metaphysics and physics. The landscape is itself an allegory (...), a myth of our times, living not in the past but in the future." (From: W. Grohmann, illi Baumeister, London, 1961, p. 110).