Adolf Hölzel
Komposition (Glasfensterentwurf), ca. 1932

Classically modern art in Germany was concentrated in just a few centers: Munich, Dresden and Stuttgart. Adolf Hölzel, who was appointed to a chair at the Stuttgart Academy in 1905, was instrumental in launching painterly abstraction in the south-west of Germany which, in retrospect, must have had a liberating effect on Hölzel’s students – Baumeister, Schlemmer, Itten, Kerkovius and others. Hölzel formed the force field of a circle of artists who were to successfully propagate his doctrine at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. For a long time, Hölzel did not enjoy the status in art history which is attributed to him today as a father of abstraction. This may have been due to the fact that Hölzel refrained from any sort of programmatic approach which was proclaimed in manifestos everywhere. Rather than radically breaking with painterly traditions, Hölzel developed the autonomy of color on the basis of academic doctrine. His Komposition forms a point of reference for abstract tendencies in the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection. It ranks among Hölzel’s late works in pastel chalk – a drawing technique with which Hölzel experimented throughout his life.

Adolf Hölzel

* 1853 Olmütz/Moravia, CZ
† 1934 Stuttgart, D

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