3 parts: each 76 x 57 cm
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Margit Weinberg Staber
Letzte Werke [Last works]
Portfolio of 3 screenprints
Fritz Glarner (born 1899 in Zurich, Switzerland, died 1972 in Locarno, Switzerland) was the inventor of the “Relational Painting” – a style of painting based on geometry in which the composition of elements is equally based on tension and harmony.
Glarner was more interested in empirical practice than theory. The time he spent in Paris from 1923 to 1935, during which he became involved with the artistic avant-garde, was decisive for the development of his artistic language. In 1933, he became a member of the group Abstraction-Création, and he had several group shows with other members. In his still lifes and abstract paintings of interiors, he explored formal problems of the European avant-garde while also experimenting with a reduced color scheme and a harmonic relationship between the pictorial surface and spatial dimensions. Deeply influenced by Piet Mondrian, Glarner freed himself of all representational aspects and began to use pure artistic means more and more. Beginning in the early 1940s, Glarner took Mondrian’s basic compositional element of the square and divided it in two rectangles. He soon began to split these again into two parts with a diagonal at a 15-degree angle. He then applied this method to his rectangular and round pictures. The resulting overall effect is a dynamic pictorial surface. The finely nuanced shades of gray also energize the color triads of red, yellow, and blue embedded within white and black; the compositions develop their unique strength through the layering of graphic elements that form a pictorial space. With his diagonals, gray values, and round pictures, Glarner took the formal foundations of Neo-plasticism a step beyond Mondrian. The tondo, a type of “Relational Painting,” was one of Glarner’s most interesting artistic inventions and an example of his own unique Constructivist and Concrete pictorial language.
Glarner lived in Zurich for one year before immigrating to New York in 1936. After that, he still maintained close contact to the Swiss art scene, especially to Max Bill, and he represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 1964 and 1968. Glarner created large wall paintings in New York – for example, in the lobby of the Time-Life Building in 1958, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library in the UN headquarters in 1961, and the dining room of Nelson Rockefeller’s New York apartment (“Rockefeller Dining Room”) in 1963/64. The latter is an installation based on the principles of “Relational Painting” and is an excellent and unique example of interior design based on Concrete Art.
Dominique von Burg