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>> Seligenstadt: Blind Date/ New York: pa.per.ing / Würzburg: Dialog Skulptur
>> Hilla von Rebay at Deutsche Guggenheim / Anton Stankowski in Stuttgart

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Rudolf Bauer
Invention (Komposition 31), 1933
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
Gift, Solomon R. Guggenheim
Photo: David Heald
©2005 Estate of Rudolf Bauer


Hilla von Rebay
Gavotte, 1947
Collection Halstead International,
courtesy Portico New York, Inc.
Photo Portico New York, Inc.
©The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved


Von Rebay admired the musicality of Bauer’s non-objective paintings; to her mind, he was the "Johann Sebastian Bach of painting." The important role the theme of music played in his art is also testified to by the titles of the works shown at the Deutsche Guggenheim, such as White Fugue (1923-27) or Symphony in Three Parts (1930-34), in which colorful, often hard-edge geometric forms are arranged in rhythmic compositions. Von Rebay’s works also frequently refer to music, such as her painting Gavotte (1947), whose title is borrowed from a Baroque form of composition with a lively rhythm and its own dance. A blue-violet fog of color, attenuated red rectangles, and swinging yellow and blue lines shaped like crescent moons unite to form a highly decorative composition.


Hilla von Rebay
Frau in Rot, um 1928
Privatbesitz,
courtesy Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York
Photo Jason Silva
©The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved





Hilla von Rebay
Komposition I, 1915 (?)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Photo David Heald
©The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved


Von Rebay’s strongest works are her very independent collages, which testify to her feeling for rhythm and subtle color gradations. Already in Germany, she combined colored strips and pieces of paper to form suspended compositions. These were later followed by figurative collages portraying elegant society women, actresses, or a Woman in Red (1928) with an extravagant black hat whose red dress is composed from a few thin strips of paper. In front of an empty background, the slightly elongated figure comes across as both mannerist and abstract.

Hilla von Rebay’s interest in music and dance is also apparent in her almost caricature-like drawings, which record her impressions of the jazz clubs of New York. In Tulips de Harlem, an African American couple is dancing the Charleston – closely intertwined and entirely immersed in the music. These images elaborate on influences from her Berlin years, such as the expressive paper works of Otto Dix and George Grosz, who were also attentive observers of big-city nightlife.

Hilla von Rebay
Lyrische Erfindung, 1939
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Photo David Heald
©The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved


The show at the Deutsche Guggenheim proves that Hilla von Rebay (read an extensive interview here) was underestimated as an artist for many years. Particularly in her collages, a medium neither Kandinsky nor Bauer worked in, she pursued her own very individual path. Her paintings give rise to a free cosmos of geometric and organic forms that radiate a positive energy. Hilla von Rebay, involved throughout her life with the theosophical teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, always stressed the spiritual meaning of her art – and that "non-objective paintings are the key to a world of immaterial elevation."

Art of Tomorrow: Hilla von Rebay und Solomon R. Guggenheim
13. May – 13. August 2006
Deutsche Guggenheim
Unter den Linden 13-15
Berlin

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