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RUDOLF BAUER:
A NON-OBJECTIVE POINT OF VIEW

A BIOGRAPHIC ESSAY

 

Early in the twentieth century in Berlin, a German caricaturist and political cartoonist named Rudolf Bauer began to make his mark. While Bauer's illustrations delighted his audience and paid the bills, it was his avant-garde experiments in Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism that stirred his soul. Bauer caught the attention of Herwarth Walden, founder of the famed Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin, who mounted three solo shows of Bauer's paintings amid exhibitions of works by Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and other modernist luminaries.

In America Bauer's work was introduced to the American public in the early 1920s through the legendary Societe Anonyme. Bauer's work was featured in the exhibition bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as early as 1933. Solomon R. Guggenheim became Bauer's champion and patron and purchased more than three hundred works for his collection. A 1937 article in Time magazine cites a Bauer painting as Guggenheim's favorite and pictures the copper magnate sitting proudly in front of it. Guggenheim established a foundation for Non-Objective painting and committed to the construction of the now-famous museum on Fifth Avenue, efforts that can be argued were the direct result of Bauer's ideas.

Bauer's work The Holy One (1936) was the inspiration for the main attraction at the 1939 World's Fair, the Trylon and Perisphere buildings. Art historian Robert Rosenblum has also noted the striking similarity of Bauer's Blue Triangle (1934) to Barnett Newman's Abstract Expressionist sculpture Broken Obelisk (1963-69), one of the centerpieces of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The curator and art historian William Moritz has noted that "Bauer's work during the thirties and forties . . . was very much seen and quite influential, so no responsible history of abstract art can fail to discuss his work." Why then have the name Rudolf Bauer and his work disappeared into near oblivion? Was his erasure from the annals of art history intentional and malevolent? These are the questions that continue to stir debate, as the art world begins to rediscover the work of this visionary artist.

 

Bauer's place in art history is linked to the lives of two people: Solomon R. Guggenheim and Hilla Rebay, the Guggenheim Museum's founding director. Bauer and Rebay had met in Berlin. Rebay, in turn, had come to America and introduced Bauer's work to Guggenheim. Rebay's conviction, coupled with Guggenheim's financial resources, built her a prominent place in the history of art. Nearly single-handedly, she introduced "Non-Objective" art to the American public. Rebay was instrumental in establishing not only the Guggenheim collection but also the iconic building designed to house it, as she was the one to arrange for Frank Lloyd Wright to design this new "temple" of art on Fifth Avenue. The opening of the museum in 1959 was colored by a purge of many of Solomon Guggenheim's prized works. This change of direction, in which much of the Non-Objective art was relegated to the basement, was enacted by Harry Guggenheim, Solomon's nephew, who helmed the Foundation following Solomon's death in 1949. No artist suffered a more dramatic rise and fall in this chapter of the Guggenheim's history than Rudolf Bauer.

 

EARLY YEARS

 

Bauer was born in 1889 in Lindenwald, a town in a border region between Germany and Poland that is now part of Poland. His family moved to Berlin in the 1890s. Anecdotal evidence and a large body of highly accomplished, realistic student works suggest that Bauer was an avid artist from an early age. When the moment arrived for the fledgling artist to discuss his desire to go to art school, his father, disapproving of this choice, beat him so brutally that Bauer ran away from home, never to return. Bauer did enter art school in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin, in 1905, but he was never able to count on support from his family again.

Galerie Der Sturm was founded by Herwarth Walden in Berlin in 1912, two years after the founding of the magazine of the same name. Bauer was initiated into Der Sturm (The Storm) circle around 1915 and, with his participation in a number of group exhibitions, began to put aside his commercial illustration work in favor of painting. It is likely that it was at Der Sturm that Bauer first saw the work of Kandinsky, an artist whose philosophy and approach would have a strong impact on Bauer's artistic direction. Bauer would become a fixture at Der Sturm, working as Walden's assistant and being given solo shows in 1917, 1918, and 1920. He taught at Walden's Der Sturm School, where Klee was also an instructor. This was a prolific period for Bauer. In addition to his Non-Objective work at Der Sturm, he completed a series of representational pastels depicting the horrors of World War I. References to the war may also be found in his Non-Objective art of the period. Several paintings include floating crosses—symbols, perhaps, of casualties of war. Composition 32 (1918) pictures what appears to be barbed wire running through the center of the composition. The masterpiece of this Expressionist period is White Cross (1919), a painting that Bauer considered one of his finest.

The Baroness Hilla von Rebay, also a young artist, moved in 1917 to Berlin from Zurich, where she had been studying. Her former lover the sculptor Hans (Jean) Arp had given her an introduction to Der Sturm the previous year. No longer romantically involved with Arp, Rebay met Bauer at the gallery and was courted by him. In 1919 one of Rebay's engravings was published on the cover of Der Sturm, and she was featured in a two-person show at the gallery. That same year they moved into a studio together at 25 Ahornallee in Berlin's fashionable Westend. This marked the beginning of their tempestuous lifelong relationship.

In 1920 Katherine Dreier, co-founder of the Societe Anonyme (with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray), visited Galerie Der Sturm in 1920 and purchased the Bauer oil Andante V (1915-17). Bauer was one of many European artists whose work was first introduced to the American public by Dreier. Later Dreier would say of Bauer, "We had no artist in those early years whose work so appealed to the public in general and which received so much response."

 

FROM EXPRESSIONISM TO LYRICISM

 

From 1921 until 1924 Bauer's painting evolved from an expressionist to a more lyrical abstract style. The compositions became simpler, less biomorphic, and more elegant and uplifting as compared to the expressionistic work from the war-torn teens. By late 1925 or early 1926 Bauer became completely absorbed with a geometric style that would define the remainder of his career. The period seems to have been launched with the watercolor Allegro (c. 1925) and a group of similarly sized works on paper. Paintings such as Colored Swinging (1935), the four-paneled Tetraptychon series (1926-30), and his Symphony triptych (1930-34) are typical of this period's geometric forms and vibrant colorful compositions.

 

A DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP

 

Bauer's early relationship with Rebay was affectionate but difficult. One of the factors straining the relationship was that Rebay's parents did not find Bauer to be a suitable match for their daughter. Other lifestyle preferences challenged the relationship early on. Bauer was willing to suffer privation in order to focus on his Non-Objective art, the bohemian lifestyle of a struggling artist was not for Rebay. Rebay had the means to escape and, ultimately, she did. As late as 1926, when living in Rome doing society portraits and selling her "ballet pictures," Rebay would exclaim upon receiving a letter from Bauer, "He is my boy. He was too poor to marry me."

In 1927 Rebay sailed to the United States armed with letters of introduction. Through her connections she met Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim. Eventually Rebay became friendly with the Guggenheims, and Solomon, charmed by her, asked her to paint his portrait. Solomon probably first encountered Non-Objective art at Rebay's studio in Carnegie Hall, which she had set up as an informal gallery. Rebay owned watercolors by Bauer, Kandinsky, and Klee. Rebay wrote to Bauer that Guggenheim had fallen in love with one of Bauer's watercolors and wanted to buy it. The opportunity for Rebay to prove that she was right about Bauer and Non-Objective art had arrived. Guggenheim hired Rebay as his personal curator.

Over the next several years Rebay helped Guggenheim amass what would become one of the world's greatest collections of modern art. Guggenheim collected predominantly works by Bauer and Kandinsky, many of them acquired directly through Bauer in Germany. In July of 1930, as part of a studio tour of Europe organized by Rebay, the Guggenheims traveled to France, then on to Germany to meet Vasily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer for the first time.

In September of 1930, flush with money from sales of his work to Guggenheim, Bauer decided the time was right to establish a new art salon in Berlin. Named Das Geistreich (The Realm of the Spirit), Bauer conceived it as a "temple of non-objectivity," a sanctuary where Guggenheim and other well-heeled buyers would congregate to choose works for their collections. It was the first museum in the world dedicated to Non-Objective art, featuring primarily the works of Bauer and Kandinsky. As Susanne Neuburger has noted, "It was the first germ of the idea that was to become the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum." Few people in Germany were buying art, which made Bauer especially reliant on collectors from other countries. What Bauer could not anticipate was that as the decade wore on, collectors, including Guggenheim, were less and less inclined to visit Germany because of the deteriorating political situation.

 

PATRONAGE AND POWER

 

Guggenheim had discovered Non-Objective art through Bauer's work and, according to his comments and letters from Rebay, liked Bauer's work best. This fact has often been slanted to imply that Bauer's work was foisted upon Guggenheim by Rebay, but it is significant to note that Rebay recognized other great artists, such as Piet Mondrian, whose work she was unable to persuade Solomon to purchase.

In spite of Guggenheim's clear admiration for Bauer's work and its inclusion in major exhibitions in Europe at Galerie Der Sturm and in the United States with the Société Anonyme, Rebay still felt compelled to trumpet his praises compulsively. Her overpromotion of the artist became notorious. Rebay featured Bauer's work on the cover of all five Guggenheim Foundation catalogues and consistently opened and closed her catalogue essays about Non-Objective art with references to Bauer and his genius. Almost every advertisement for the collection pictured a sole work by Bauer. Rebay practically demanded fealty to Bauer's work from the other artists she considered for the collection, which only served to diminish Bauer's favor in the art world. Contrary to her intentions, her determination to make him world-famous by the force of her will hurt Bauer's reputation and created great resentment. Bauer's reputation would likely have withstood the test of time had she not insisted on this rarified position for his work.

 

THE GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION

 

Rebay, inspired by Bauer's Das Geistreich, lobbied Guggenheim to consider founding his own museum. In 1936 Guggenheim's collection became the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, with Rebay as its director. The establishment of a not-for-profit foundation served as the first legal step toward creating a museum to house the collection. While looking for suitable real estate and architects, Rebay began to organize exhibitions of the "Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of Non-Objective Paintings." The collection had its public debut in 1936 at the Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. On a mission to illuminate Bauer's genius to a public who may never have seen Non-Objective art before, Rebay's catalogue essays, like her letters, displeased other artists in the collection such as Robert Delaunay and Kandinsky.

In 1936 Bauer traveled to the United States to attend the opening of the Guggenheim exhibition in Charleston. Since he spoke no English, Rebay served as his interpreter. This was Bauer's first visit to the United States and the first time he saw his work installed so prominently outside Germany. He visited Charleston in April, attended an exhibition of his work in Chicago in May, and spent the rest of May in New York, before returning to Germany in early June. It is clear that this trip left a favorable impression on Bauer and led him to believe that his dream of a permanent museum for his work was possible through Guggenheim.

 

PRISON

 

Back in Berlin, Das Geistreich had become a lonely island of individualism in a menacing sea of Nazism. The Bauhaus had been closed down by the government in 1933, and artists such as Bauer were increasingly ostracized. Many had already fled the country. Rebay wrote Bauer in August 1937 to report that she had visited the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, which featured many artists from their Der Sturm days, including works by Kandinsky, Klee, Moholy-Nagy, and, of course, Bauer. Why Bauer lingered so long in this hostile environment remains a mystery. He was not Jewish, yet his patron was one of the richest Jews in the world. This association would not go unnoticed in Nazi Germany.

In July 1937 Bauer traveled to Paris because his work was included in an exhibition called Origines et developpement de l'art international indépendant, organized by the Musee du Jeu de Paume. In this large survey of the period, his painting was shown alongside the work of Picasso, Georges Braque, Leger, Chagall, and Joan Miro. It is believed that while he was in Paris he received word from friends that it was too dangerous to return to Berlin; yet he ignored the warning. According to the Rebay documentarian Sigrid Faltin, it is likely that his sister, a Nazi zealot who had disowned him, turned him in to the authorities for his art. Bauer was suddenly a prisoner in Berlin. Defiant, he scavenged scraps of paper and pencils while in prison, so that he could continue to draw.

Distraught by the news that Bauer had been imprisoned, Rebay implored Guggenheim to help free him. The baroness traveled to Germany with a suitcase filled with cash to rescue the "king" of Non-Objective art. To help broker a deal with the Gestapo, Rebay asked her brother, General Franz-Hugo von Rebay, to meet with Bauer's captors, and he agreed to do so. After a couple of visits Bauer was released him unconditionally. Unwelcome and unsafe at home, Bauer made the choice to emigrate to the United States. Beset by bureaucratic difficulties in securing an exit visa and by the challenge, both emotional and physical, of packing up the contents of his home and studio, Bauer finally set sail for New York a year later in August 1939.

 

THE MUSEUM OF NON-OBJECTIVE PAINTING AND BAUER'S LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES

 

The Museum of Non-Objective Painting showcasing the Guggenheim collection opened in New York City on June 1. The exhibition, titled Art of Tomorrow, was displayed in a former automobile showroom at 24 East 54th Street, a welcoming, comfortable, even luxurious environment where one could escape from the hubbub of New York, listen to classical music, and see the new art. The collection continued to be dominated by works by Bauer and Kandinsky.

Two months later Bauer arrived in the United States from Germany, in August 1939, to a hero's welcome. The newly freed artist stayed with Rebay at her home in Connecticut during his first four months in the U.S., after which time he suggested, probably to Rebay's dismay, that he would like a home of his own. In order to make his wish a reality, it was necessary for Bauer to settle his accounts with Solomon Guggenheim and the Foundation. Guggenheim conveyed to Rebay and Bauer the financial support he was willing to provide. In a letter from Bauer to Guggenheim, responding to Guggenheim's letter dated November 14, 1939, Bauer outlined some concerns he had regarding the purchase of his work by the Guggenheim Foundation. "It is not clear to me whether the capital invested for this purpose is to be considered the purchase price of the pictures and is to belong to me or whether I am merely to enjoy the interest." Bauer went on to discuss block discounts, leaving his estate to the Foundation in the event he was paid the cash price requested, and other matters. Perhaps the most critical point that the artist made in his letter concerned the word "output," which Bauer was unable to find in his dictionary but "the translation of which sounds bad." The implication of this wording, which Bauer sensed but did not fully grasp, was that Guggenheim was planning to lay claim to the artist's future work as well.

A few weeks later, on December 9, 1939, Bauer signed the contract, which "he believed, because of Rebay's solemn vow, was as had been outlined verbally to him." Not speaking the language and perhaps not wanting to insult his patron, who had just saved him from night and fog, Bauer signed the document, even though it had not been translated into German. In it Bauer agreed to relinquish ownership of the 110 works of art listed in Schedule A of the contract, mostly major oils, to Guggenheim in exchange for the following:

--Payment of $41,000 to purchase a grand beach house in Deal, New Jersey;

--Cancellation of a debt of $12,400;

--Payment of the $7,000 balance due on a modernist body for Bauer's Duesenberg automobile;

--Interest on a trust fund of $300,000 in Chilean Nitrate Sinking Debentures, paying 5% per annum.

The contract further dictated that Bauer was to leave his entire estate to the Foundation upon his death. It also appears that as part of this negotiation the artist was obligated to produce "ten extra large pictures special to the museum."

Read More/LessBauer, trusting Rebay, signed the document, purchased the mansion in Deal, and began a new life in America, complete with an attractive, Austrian-born maid named Louise Huber hired for him by the Foundation. Shortly thereafter Bauer began translating the contract himself. He discovered that instead of a lump-sum payment of $300,000, which he had expected, the contract provided him with only $15,000 a year in interest on bonds that Guggenheim had placed in trust for him. While this was a lot of money in 1939, it is decidedly not what the artist had expected. (At this rate he would not receive the equivalent $300,000 for twenty years.) Moreover, at the end of Bauer's lifetime these debentures, along with the house, would revert back to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.Crushed by what he perceived to be a terrible betrayal, he lost his will to paint. At the age of fifty, at the height of his artistic powers, instead of focusing on painting, Bauer became a man obsessed with protecting his creative legacy. Bauer disputed the contract, but details of the dispute and settlement are not clear. What we do know is that Bauer incurred a substantial tax burden ($40,000) based, ironically, on the assessed "selling" price of $300,000 for his work. The tax and resultant penalties alone represented nearly three years of interest from the trust. We also know that long after Bauer's death his widow left behind an estate containing mostly early paintings and a large body of works on paper, contrary to Section 3 of the contract. Mrs. Bauer and the Guggenheim Foundation reached a settlement after Bauer's death in which Mrs. Bauer paid the Foundation $20,000 to keep the pieces that remained in the artist's estate. THE 1940S For more than a decade Bauer had been Guggenheim's favorite artist and had played a prominent role as advisor to both Rebay and Guggenheim on what to collect. As his relationship with Rebay began to deteriorate, it became clear that Bauer was to have no say in the running of the Foundation that now controlled his art. He began writing letters to Rebay and the Foundation, which were at first thoughtful and polite, but over time became less lucid, very dense, and more like James Joyce prose than business letters. The intrigue between Bauer and Rebay, triggered by Bauer's contract with Guggenheim and Rebay's unwillingness to share administration of the Foundation with Bauer, reached Shakespearean proportions around 1942. Bauer intimated to the FBI that Rebay was a Nazi spy. Rebay was investigated by the FBI and ultimately placed under arrest for hoarding coffee and sugar in her garage—the only crime they could unearth. Four days after Rebay was arrested, Bauer tried to "start a putsch" to remove the baroness from her position through an onslaught of letters to Guggenheim. This "declaration of war" was backed by members of the Foundation staff, many of whom were struggling artists too fearful previously to speak up against Rebay for fear of losing their jobs.Bauer & Louise HuberLonely and isolated, Bauer found a sympathetic and willing companion in Louise Huber, his maid, and a relationship ensued. They married in 1944. This relationship provoked scathing letters and comments from Hilla, who referred to Louise in writing as a streetwalker and a whore. On behalf of Huber, Bauer sued Rebay for slander for the sum of $250,000. According to the artist Rolph Scarlett, when Rebay won the suit in 1945, primarily through the eloquence and connections of her attorney, Bauer lost the "struggle for power." She battle for control of the Foundation between Bauer and Rebay coupled with Rebay's intimate relationship with her boss were no doubt an embarrassment to the extended Guggenheim family. When Guggenheim died in 1949, the collection that Rebay and Bauer helped shape for over twenty years, and the legacy that Guggenheim had sought to establish through its exhibition, was at the mercy of the Foundation's trustees.The creative legacy left by Solomon Guggenheim, while expanded since his death to an empire of five museums throughout the world, was shaped and shifted by his successors into a program at odds with his vision. There is strong evidence that the resentment held by so many against his curator, Hilla Rebay, and the jealousy leveled against his favorite artist—Rudolf Bauer—were influential in instigating a dramatic change in curatorial program. Three years before construction of Wright's building began, Rebay was asked to step down as director and resign from the board of trustees, and the Museum of Non-Objective Painting became the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. While one could assume the reason was to expand the mission of the museum to better and more broadly serve the public through both art and education, another, less altruistic and more personal, agenda was at play. Staffers reported a clear mandate issued by Harry Guggenheim to downplay the significance of the museum's founding director, Rebay, as well as Bauer and the movement they had dubbed the "Art of Tomorrow." Bauer died in November 1953, spared the humiliation of witnessing the total suppression of his work from the collection he had helped to define. THE ART OF TOMORROW, TODAY Art history is able to self-correct, as subsequent generations of curators, dealers, and collectors are uninfluenced by the power struggles that may have preceded them. If the recent acceleration in the number of exhibitions that have included works by Bauer is any indication, then this generation is bearing witness to just such a correction. In the mid-1980s the Moderner Kunst Museum in Vienna partnered with the Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin to mount a solo show of Bauer's work. That exhibition led the Moderner Kunst Museum to add a 1924 Bauer oil to its permanent collection, where it has remained on continuous display. Since 1990 works by Bauer and other Guggenheim artists removed from view in the 1950s have been included in dozens of museum exhibitions and gallery shows. In 2005 the Boca Raton Museum of Art mounted a solo survey exhibition of Bauer's drawings and prints, which included oils lent by local collectors. As we go to press, there are major oils by Bauer hanging in the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.Nearly three generations after Bauer's banishment, the Guggenheim Museum has begun to reassess. In 2005-06 the museum on Fifth Avenue mounted a show titled Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim, which traveled to museums in Munich and Murnau, as well as the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. A large group of works by Rebay and Bauer were hung with choice works by Kandinsky and many of the original selections from the 1939 Art of Tomorrow exhibition. Numerous major Bauer oils were added and given prominent placement at the Munich venue, Museum Villa Stuck, by museum director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker. This show marked the first time that the Guggenheim Museum had exhibited this material on such a grand scale, giving hope that Solomon Guggenheim's vision of Non-Objective art might still be realized on the helical ramp in the museum that bears his name. Essay by Steven Lowy 

INTRODUCTION TO RUDOLF BAUER

 

The act of rediscovering Rudolf Bauer has been an ongoing project for over thirty-five years. Beginning with Guggenheim deaccessions to various galleries in the 1970s, the work that had not seen the light of day since the 1940s once again drew new enthusiasts. But a sellout show was a dead end until a new round of Guggenheim deaccessions brought fresh material to market. This start-and-stop cycle continued through the late 1980s, during which time a young curator named Steven Lowy had begun to research Bauer's life and work. Through his study, Lowy was able to track down the artist's estate in Europe, which has since enabled numerous exhibitions on the life and work of Rudolf Bauer. Indeed, the Guggenheim's decision to rid their collection of Bauer not only spurred the career of a conscientious curator, but also reawakened the spirit of an artist too significant to ignore. In 1997, the Guggenheim ceased all further sales of Bauer's work and it is unlikely that they will be renewed.

 

 

View AVAILABLE WORKS by RUDOLF BAUER

 

 

CHRONOLOGY

 

1889

Rudolf Bauer, born in Lindenwald, Germany, the son of an engineer.

 

1890

Hilla Rebay von Ehrenweisen is born in Strasbourg, Alsace.

 

1904-1910

Bauer is living in Berlin and is already a published cartoonist. Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Berlin.

 

1912

Bauer meets the art dealer and promoter of the avant-garde Herwarth Walden, who founds the Der Sturm Gallery. In subsequent years, one-man exhibitions are organized for Kandinsky, Bauer, Klee, Chagall and many others.

 

1915

Bauer becomes member of "Der Sturm" and begins to be represented in its group exhibitions. Bauer meets the 25 year-old Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenweisen, an art student and daughter of an aristocratic Prussian officer.

 

1917

Bauer's first one-man exhibition at Der Sturm Gallery, Berlin with 120 works. From then on participation, in 80 exhibitions with the group "Der Sturm."

 

1918

Theoretical essay "The Cosmic Movement" Der Sturm Gallery, Berlin. One-man exhibition.

 

1920

Der Sturm Gallery, Berlin. One-man exhibition. Georg Kleis Kusthandel, Copenhagen. Group exhibition, Bauer, Kandinsky... Bauer is co-founder of the "Novembergruppe" in Berlin, along with Otto Freundlich, Max Pechstein and Rudolf Belling.

 

1921

McDowell Club, New York City, Societe Anonyme. Group exhibition. Worcester Art Museum, Mass. Group exhibition of Societe Anonyme. Theoretical essay "Manifesto of Painting," Berlin. Many of his graphics reproduced in n "Monatsschrift fur Kultur und die Kunste" by "Der Sturm." Bauer invited to publish lithograph in Bauhaus portfolio.

 

1923

Vassar College, New York, 26th exhibition of Societe Anonyme. "Der Sturm" publishes its monumental 175 page volume, marking the milestone event of the 150th exhibition since it's founding. Three Bauer works are reproduced.

 

1926

"Grosse Berliner Kunstaustellung" in Berlin. One-man exhibition.

 

1927

Royal Palace, Berlin. One-man exhibition. Mrs Solomon Guggenheim who was attempting to help a newly-arrived German painter, the Baroness Hilla Rebay, receive portrait commissions, introduces her to her husband Solomon Guggenheim. The following year, he commissions Rebay to paint his portrait. Rebay had a profound influence on Guggenheim.

 

1928

Kandinsky meets Bauer in Berlin.

 

1929

Bauer founds his own museum in Berlin, "Das Geistreich", for exhibitions of Non-objective paintings. This was the West's first museum of Non-objective art. Hilla Rebay persuades the Guggenheims to visit the Das Geistreich gallery. This visit with the artists reinforces Solomon Guggenheim's passion for Non-objective art.

 

1932

Bauer launches an exhibition at Das Geistreich titled "Werke von Kandinsky und Bauer." This would be followed by one-man exhibitions of other artists, such as Hilla Rebay. Preoccupied with left-wing politics, and perhaps fearful of his fate under the Nazis, Walden closes Der Sturm Gallery and leaves for Russia.

 

1933

Museum of Modern Art, New York, "Modern European Art" Rudolf Bauer written up and a painting reproduced in the bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, 2 October, 1933.

 

1934

Museum of Modern Art, New York, "Modern Works of Art." Group exhibition.

 

1935

Publication, in Berlin, of Bauer's manifesto "Eppure si Muove" (And Still It Moves.)

 

1937

Bauer's first visit to America. Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina. Exhibition of the Guggenheim Collection on Non-objective painting. Represented by 60 paintings and watercolors. Arts Club of Chicago. "Paintings of Rudolf Bauer from the Solomon Guggenheim Collection." Musee Jeu de Paume, Paris. One-man exhibition. Painting purchased for their permanent collection. Galerie Chanth, Paris "Innovation, Une Nouvelle Ere Artistique," Galerie Chanth, Paris. All of the works derive from the collection of Solomon R. Guggenheim. Bauer's "Points" (1936) is reproduced in color on the catalogue's cover. Within the catalogue are four colorplates of Kandinsky's works and seven colorplates of Bauer's works. Guggenheim acquires from Bauer, Paul Klee's "Dance You Monster to My Soft Song!" (1922)

 

1938

Arrested by the Nazis and put into a concentration camp. Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina. Exhibition of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection. Bauer is represented by 95 paintings.

 

1939

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. Exhibition of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of Non-objective painting. The exhibition is accompanied by a 182 page catalogue which serves as a handbook of the complete collection which now comprises 415 non-objective works and Bauer & Marinetti309 works which are described as "with an object." The catalogue reveals 215 Bauer works in the collection and 103 Kandinskys, making the Guggenheim Foundation the largest repository of "Bauers" in the world and by far the largest collection of "Kandinskys" in the United States. Galerie Charpentier, Paris. First exhibition 2nd series, "Le Salon des Realities Nouvelles." Bauer released from concentration camp through Solomon Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (innovator of the Futurist Movement). Bauer returns to America where he remains the rest of his life.

 

1940

Bauer signs the now infamous "contract" which consequently holds him to giving the Guggenheim Foundation all works done in the future and which provides him with interest income rather than a lump sum payment. Bauer seeks legal counsel and proceeds to litigate against Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for what he considers grossly unjust compensation for the productivity to come. A retroactive clause coupled with future clause described above, deterred him from selling any work. The Guggenheim/Bauer contract still in litigation Bauer presumable stops painting so that his new works will not potentially become the property of the Foundation. This inactivity apparently continues for this reason for the rest of his life.

 

1941

The San Diego Art Gallery, California. Loan exhibition from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. This exhibition also travelled to Massilon, Ohio and Springfield, Mass.

 

1942

Dallas Art Museum. Loan exhibition from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. Pennsylvania State Center. Loan exhibition from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum.

 

1943

Upon Rebay's urging, Solomon R. Guggenheim commisions Frank Lloyd Wright to design a museum for the Foundation. This infuriates Bauer who was not consulted despite the fact that Guggenheim had promised to hire a German (Bauhaus?) architect. Bauer marries his maid, Louise Barry, apparently angering Hilla Rebay who aspired to marrying Bauer despite her close relationship with Guggenheim.

 

1944

The Art's Club, Washington D.C. Exhibition from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum.

 

1945

Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Loan exhibition from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. It is during this period that Solomon Guggenheim officiates the burning of the presumably hundreds of copies of the five Guggenheim catalogues. All five have color reproductions of Bauer's paintings, including Bauer's color covers. This clearly reveals the extent of the Bauer holdings which accumulated over the years prior to 1940. (As recalled by Louise Svendson to D. Karshan in July 1981).

 

1947

"Le Salon des Realities Nouvelles," Paris. Exhibition travels to Mannheim and Zurich.

 

1948

Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York . "Permanent Collection." Group Exhibition.

 

1949

Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York . "Tenth Anniversary" Group Exhibition.

 

1952

Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York . "Evolution to Non-objectivity," Group Exhibition. With the death of Solomon R., Guggenheim, his widow is partly responsible for the replacement of Rebay by James Johnson Sweeny. Virtually all of the 215 Bauer works owned by the Museum are now relegated to the storage area of the Museum.

 

1953

Bauer dies at his home in Deal, New Jersey.

 

1963

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. "Evolution to Non-objectivity." Group Exhibition

 

1967

Hilla Rebay dies. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. "Seven Decades A Selection." Group Exhibition.

 

1968

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. "Acquisitions of the 1930's and 1940's." A selection of paintings, watercolors and drawings in tribute to Hilla Rebay.

 

1969

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Germany, "Rudolf Bauer 1889-1953". One-man exhibition.

 

1970

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York. "Rudolf Bauer 1889-1953. One-man exhibition. Annely Juda Gallery, London. "Rudolf Bauer 1889-1953." One-man exhibition.

 

1973

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Germany. One-man exhibition.

 

1976

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York. One-man exhibition. Staedtiches Museum, Wiesbaden. One-man exhibition.

 

1985

Museum of the Twentieth Century, Vienna. Retrospective

 

1987

Borghi & Co., New York. One-man exhibition.

 

1995

Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen am Rhein die neue wirklichkeit: abstraktion als weltentwurf

Champions of Modernism: Non-Objective Art of the 1930s and 40s and Its Legacy

 

1996

Castle Gallery, College of New Rochelle.

 

1997

Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina, and

Sunrise Museum, Charleston, West Virginia

 

1998

Brevard Museum of Art and Science, Melbourne, FL, and

Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland FL.

 

1999

Included in The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900-1950, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

 

2000

Included in Four Non-Objective Painters at Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery, New York

 

The Art of Rudolf Bauer: From Berlin to New York 1910-1940 at Connaught Brown Gallery, London

 

2003

Included in The Omnipotent Dream: Man Ray, Confluences and Influences, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.

 

2004

Included in European Art between the Wars, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, N.Y.

 

2005

Rudolf Bauer: Berlin Drawings and Prints of the 1920s and 1930s at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Fla.

 

Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, includes many works by Bauer: it travels in 2005-06 to Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, and Schlossmuseum Murnau; and Deutsch Guggenheim, Berlin.

 

Solo exhibition Master Drawings from the Concentration Camps, at Tobey Fine Arts, New York. (Bauer was never actually in a concentration camp; his confinement was in a Gestapo prison.)

 

Included in Hilla Rebay: A Baroness in Westport, Westport Historical Society, Westport, Conn.

 

Included in Hilla Rebay and the Museum of Non-Objective Painting at DC Moore Gallery, New York.

 

2006

Part of the Societe Anonyme: Modernism for America exhibition at the Armand Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; it will travel through 2010 to The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art; Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

 

Included in an exhibition of work from the Guggenheim Museum collection at Kunstund Ausstelungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, and the Kunstmuseum Bonn.

 

2007

Comprehensive solo exhibition at Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco.

 

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