Georg Karl Pfahler
Formativ 13/II, 1959/60

  • Oil on canvas
  • 130 x 105 cm
  • Acquired in 1978
  • abstract Hard Edge Painting

Georg Karl Pfahler is often referred to as the leading figure of the German Hard Edge, aiming to overcome the dominance of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s. Clearly defined, usually geometric surfaces and shapes are painted in flat and homogenously applied colors and placed beside one another. Along with Stuttgart artists like Quinte, Lenk and Hajek a return to Concrete art and geometric abstraction was taking place around 1960. Are the colors for Pfahler’s earlier works still applied at a fast gestural pace and ‘formed’ into compact individual shapes, the typical monochrome white or colored background of later paintings supports a signal like presence of the distinct shapes. The white background of Formativ 13/II prevents interpretation of the picture as a homogenous entirety, instead allowing every form to appear as a free-standing color center. Out of this one of the main themes of Pfahler is developed: the color as a sole carrier of a pictorial idea and the development of form and space purely from the qualities of the color values used.

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