79 x 78.5 x 3 cm
Acrylic and string on canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Barbara and Hans-Ulrich Doerig
Filetage sur blanc I [Thread on white I]
In the late 1930s, Leo Leuppi (born 1893 and died 1972 in Zurich, Switzerland) began to regard his pictorial compositions as “Konkretionen.” The painter, graphic artist, and sculptor was a founder, organizer, and president of the avant-garde artists’ group Groupe Suisse Abstraction et Surréalisme and the Allianz group. As such, Leuppi was one of the most important pioneers of modern art in Switzerland. His well-known public works include the iron sculpture on the façade of the Migros building in Thun (1955), the mosaic on the wall of the Kolbenacker school in Zurich (1955–1957), and the mural in the lobby of the Gsteigstrasse retirement complex in Höngg in Zurich (1956–1957). His two pictures in the Museum Haus Konstruktiv’s collection are strictly geometric white or yellow “Filetages” in which the artist has translated the “string painting” technique developed by Jean (Hans) Arp into a Constructivist method. They illustrate Leuppi’s idiosyncratic position regarding the nature of the monochrome and the “Tableau-relief.”
Leuppi combined stylistic principles of Constructivism with surrealist elements without any dogmatism. While his works from 1925 to c. 1930 display his interest in synthetic Cubism, the Purism of Amédée Ozenfant, and Le Corbusier, his works from 1935 to 1950 have more of a Constructivist character and a fine compositional balance. In this respect, the artist drew inspiration from Max Bill, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Walter Bodmer, and Jean Arp. He combined geometric and sometimes even organic forms in bright, dynamic configurations that are marked by a musical sensibility. Inspired by Jean Arp’s “Papiers déchirés et collés,” in the 1950s, Leuppi worked with compositions with less rigid structures in which he replaced the geometric aspect entirely with a world of organic, brightly colored forms. In the mid-1950s, his forms became clearer and more austere again; and in his late works, they became even more pronounced in their simplicity, inspired by his return to geometric principles of order.
Dominique von Burg