Willi Baumeister
Läufer mit sitzender Figur III, 1934/35

In his book ‘Das Unbekannte in der Kunst’ [‘The Unknown in Art’], Willi Baumeister outlined in 1947 that refining the art of painting unveiled some specific principles which were inherent only in painting. According to him, these principles arose in part from manual skills and in part from higher factors of an elementary, fundamental nature (perceptions of surface, sculptural elements and color). Baumeister was committed all his life to refining painting by eliminating everything that is irrelevant, as well as to searching for the original pictures and forms. This is particularly conspicuous in his early work phases, an example being Läufer mit sitzender Figur III [Runner with seated figure III] (1934/35). During the period between 1930 and 1935, Baumeister’s interest focused on a simple, distinctive composition, as expressed by the dynamism of the tall runner and the composure of the small seated figure on the runner’s right. Figure and painting style are reminiscent of prehistoric rock and cave paintings; they are sketchy like drawings on sand.

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