44 x 33.5 cm
Oil sketch on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Sammlung Rolf und Friedel Gutmann
Walter Dexel (born 1890 in Munich, Germany, died 1973 in Braunschweig, Germany) earned a PhD in art history and was a painter and graphic designer. He is considered one of the most important representatives of Constructivism in Germany. In addition to his career as an artist, he was the main curator of the Kunstverein Jena and was therefore in close contact with the artists of the Bauhaus in Weimar. Under the influence of his teacher Heinrich Wölfflin, Dexel also established and systematically assembled the internationally renowned “Formsammlung der Stadt Braunschweig – Institut für handwerkliche und industrielle Formgebung.”
Dexel became familiar with Cubism and Expressionism while in Munich, and his earlier works show basic geometric forms. From this time forward, Dexel strove to apply his new Constructivist vocabulary of forms to all areas of life in the spirit of the Bauhaus. He not only realized art in architecture projects, but he also created advertising lights, signs, and various typographical works and he designed stage sets in which he took an architectural approach.
The oil painting “Figuration mit rotem Haken” represents diagonally placed bars and lines and a prominent red “hook” that creates unexpected tension in front of a black background. Compositions based on contrasting colors are also carried to the extreme in the concise red accent in “Figuration mit kleinem roten Quadrat.” Walter Dexel can thus be seen as a predecessor of reductive and concrete modernism in Germany that was free of any kind of dogma and helped to shape the transition from Cubism to Constructivism.