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Ohne Titel (Figurentreppe I)

Willi Baumeister
Ohne Titel (Figurentreppe I) (Untitled (Figure Staircase I)),1920

Lithograph, 20.3 x 13.6 in.
Sammlung DaimlerChrysler

Ruhe und Bewegung conveys its subject matter via the play of abstract forms that seem to float on the light-blue ground appearing to cast shadows. While the theme of “rest” is implied by means of a strict geometry of the forms, “movement” is conveyed via the changing relationship between figure and ground. Läufer mit sitzender Figur belongs to a group of works produced after Baumeister assumed his professorship in Frankfurt in 1928. Turning away from his previous geometrical Puritanism, he then created softer, more organic forms better suited to portray the human figure in movement. In fact, the theme of sports was a subject he had long dealt with in his work. Figure Staircase forms part of a group of early lithographs utilizing black lines and cross-hatchings on tinted paper. These works provided him with the appropriate form of expression for the abstraction of the human figure and the structuring of the pictorial surface. Until the late 1920s, Hölzel's works directly reference architecture in which the human figure becomes an integral part of the surrounding space.

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