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3. Dialogue: From Bauhaus to American Minimalism


1. Introduction  |  2. Stuttgart Roots  |  3. Dialogue: From Bauhaus to American Minimalism  |  
4. Dialogue: Minimalism in European and American Contemporary Art  |  5. Neo Geo  |  6. "Review:
Reconsidering Form, Space and Line"


The influence of important forerunners and early representatives of Minimalism in the United States are seen in this section.
Aside from Josef Albers (15, 16), whose important role as an intermediary has been noted, Swiss and German representatives of Concrete Art, and their geometrically reduced pictorial concepts, also were referenced by many subsequent generations of artists. An extraordinary figure in this regard is the Swiss-born Bauhaus student Max Bill (17, 18, 24), who founded the Zurich Concrete group during the late 1930s. Its members included Richard Paul Lohse (29), Verena Loewensberg (30) and Camille Graeser (26, 27). The latter was one of Hölzel's students, as was Adolf Fleischmann (31, 32), who forged a further link to America when he emigrated there during the early 1950s. Hans Arp (33, 34), whose works represent a more organic form of abstraction, also was a former Bauhaus student who had a close connection to Max Bill; both belonged to Abstraction-Création, an alliance of abstract artists founded in Paris in 1931. After a brief period of study at the Bauhaus, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (28), the most important representative of Concrete Art in Germany, also joined Abstraction-Création and was closely linked to Max Bill. He taught at the Design College in Ulm, Germany – co-founded by Bill after the War – where Albers, among others, had a teaching position. As an example of their far-reaching influence, a contemporary work by the English artist Liam Gillick (25) has been integrated into this circle of Concrete artists.
Hermann Glöckner (20, 21, 22) was another exceptional figure. He worked in complete isolation and stands out today as the leading abstract artist of the former East Germany.

One of the forerunners of Minimalism in America was Ilya Bolotowsky (19), who emigrated to the United States during the 1920s and was a member of the early American Abstract Artists alliance. As of the 1940s, Bolotowsky was greatly influenced by Piet Mondrian's Neoplasticism, thus illustrating how closely tied American Geometrical Abstraction was to European developments. California Hard Edge representatives Frederick Hammersley (23) and Karl Benjamin (35), who came to the fore in the 1959 exhibition Four Abstract Classicists, prepared the path for American Minimalism with their geometrical color fields and sequences, their formal economy, the perfection of their paint application and their reliance on the object. Oli Sihvonen (36), on the other hand, emerged as one of Albers' students and was an early representative of Minimalism in New York during the 1950s and 1960s.
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Josef Albers,
Mesas nido, 1926-27
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Max Bill,
Verdichtung zu caput mortuum, 1972-73
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Ilya Bolotowsky,
Large Black, Red and White Diamond, 1971
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Hermann Glöckner,
Faltung I, 1967/75
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Hermann
Glöckner
,
Vertikal, ca. 1972
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Hermann Glöckner,
Vertikal und Horizontal, ca. 1972
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Frederick Hammersley,
Source, 1963
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Max Bill,
Trilogie, 1957
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Liam Gillick,
Provisional Bar Floor / Ceiling, 2004
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Camille Graeser,
Komplementäre Dislokation, 1972
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Camille Graeser,
Harmonikale Konstruktion, 1947/51
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Friedrich Vordemberge - Gildewart,
Komposition no. 219, 1962
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Richard Paul Lohse,
Eine und vier gleiche Gruppen, 1949/68
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Verena Loewen- sberg,
Ohne Titel, 1970-71
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Adolf Richard Fleischmann,
Ohne Titel, ca. 1950
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Adolf Richard Fleischmann,
Triptychon #505, #506, #507, Planimetric Motion, 1961
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Hans Arp,
Chapeau-nombril, 1924
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Hans Arp,
Coryphée, 1961
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Karl Benjamin,
Red, White & Black Bars, 1959
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Oli Sihvonen, Double Matrix – Pink, Green, 1968
4. Dialogue: Minimalism in European and American Contemporary Art 4. Dialogue: Minimalism in European and American Contemporary Art
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