75 x 34 x 1.5 cm
Oil on wood
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
In the middle of the 1970s, the artist Anni Blum (born 1912 in Zurich, Switzerland, died 2001 in Meierskappel, Switzerland), who was married to the painter August Frei, stopped using her married name Anni Frei and began to sign her name Anna Blume, inspired by a Dada poem by Kurt Schwitters. As a young woman, she studied in 1935 and 1936 at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris – a city to which she would often return in her life. Her affinity for France is reflected in her oeuvre, and her figurative work (landscape, figure, and interior paintings as well as still lifes) has an air of French painting.
In the 1980s, Anna Blume gradually began to turn toward a more geometric pictorial language in her paintings and drawings. This vocabulary was her own creation based on an archaic system of signs and was therefore not related to the classic ideas of the Zurich Concretes. Her formal idiom, which she articulated succinctly in combinations and superimpositions of circles, ovals, squares, and linear structures, derives from intuition and imagination. For her oil paintings, the artists preferred a pictorial support with a very physical presence to a classic canvas. She often employed old, worn, and often burley wooden boards that stress the object character of her paintings. She applied the paint in many layers with gestural brushstrokes, occasionally scratching individual forms into the wooden support’s surface. The natural grooves and bumps in the wood’s structure are integrated into the painting process, which enhances the impression of an object-like materiality. The colors range from light, almost pastel hues to earthy brown or red shades. Unlike her works on paper, her paintings are defined primarily by a somewhat subdued color palette.
As in the prior phase of still lifes filled with magic, her aim in her geometric phase was to create a metaphorical world. Anna Blume was fascinated by the archaic symbolic power of geometric signs, and her later works are strongly reminiscent of the early history of civilization, when geometry began.